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27 Dec 2013-2 Jan 2014

• LAMPS AND SHADES • CHANDELIERS • HANGING PENDANTS • WALL LIGHTS

The Great Divide { Abhishek Behl/ FG }

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he fixation to build a ‘New‘ Delhi post Independence made the Capital and its new residents quickly forget the traditional culture and roots of Dehli - which are fortunately surviving within the walls of Shahjahanabad. The failure of the government to ‘develop’ ‘Old’ Delhi, post Independence (and mainly post ‘New’ Delhi), led to the alienation and almost the death of an ages old culture, which represents the very idea of Bharat. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself in Gurgaon (erstwhile Gurugram), as a swish set of politicians and bureaucrats, aided by builders and corporates, has allowed the traditional ‘old’ Gurgaon to be eclipsed by a glass and chrome city which has more gated complexes and malls per square km, or even in the absolute, than any other city in the country. The biggest irony and tragedy, the ‘old’ residents allege, is that while the government has its seat in the ‘Old’ City, all the plans are made for ‘New’ Gurgaon - a virtually ‘private’ area. The feeling of discrimination, of being given lop-sided treatment, has become more acute after the inauguration of the Rapid Metro in DLF City, and the expansion of roads in ‘New’ Gurgaon

- while the ‘Old’ City is still crying for basic infrastructure and amenities. The ‘Old’ City residents allege that HUDA, MCG and the District Administration have failed to assimilate this part of the City into the Master Plan, and it virtually has to fend for itself. Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, an activist, agrees, and says that the infrastructure that is being developed in the ‘Old’ City is quite poor - in quality as well as quantity. “All the initiatives, whether these are related to traffic management, expansion of roads, street-lighting or security of women, are targetted towards ‘New’ Gurgaon. The Traffic Police has started one-way systems around the Galleria Market, but the same zeal is missing when looking for solutions for the ‘Old’ City,” laments Tripathy. It could have been tried around the Sadar Bazaar. The appalling lack of equity in development, with too much focus on ‘New’ Gurgaon, is also due to the fact that powerful builders with strong ‘connections’ have managed to skew the developing agenda and master-planned their future. It is perhaps for this reason that all major projects - such as the Rapid Metro, its expansion till Sector 56, the Metro expansion to Sohna Road, the ‘new’ Golf Course Highway - are going to benefit the residents of ‘New’ Gurgaon only. The Entertainment Hubs are anyway only

ASHA PANDEY

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Vol. 3 No. 19  Pages 24  ` 7

The Highway, which cuts the City virtually in two, is testament to the existence of an India and a Bharat – not just within the same Country, but even the same City. ‘Old’ Gurgaon is also a ‘Walled City’, like ‘Old’ Delhi; it is just that the wall above the Highway (NH8) – though constructed by our minds - is not visible to us. Ironically, the fountainhead of ‘new’ Gurgaon – Maruti – is across the Highway, and therefore considered ‘Old’. Even ‘new’ private colonies ‘that side’ have unfortunately been labelled ‘old’ – and therefore deprived. “Here (‘Old’ Gurgaon) they will find reasons as to why it cannot happen’; in ‘New’ Gurgaon they will find a way to make it happen. ‘Yes We Can’, for the Administration and citizens alike, only applies to the requirements of ‘New’ Gurgaon(ites). This is the ‘particular’ mindset that is ‘ruling’ Gurgaon today”. in the ‘New’ City – Malls, Kingdom of Dreams, the upcoming Appu Ghar – as also Hospitals. The collaboration of HUDA, a government agency, in building the Golf Course (DLF) Highway, is another example of how the priorities – and the spends - of the government have changed over time, allege ‘Old’ Gurgaon residents. Sharad Goyal, a prominent businessman, Contd on p 6 


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27 Dec 2013 - 02 Jan 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–19  27 December 2013 - 02 January 2014

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

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C oming U p

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

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Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

Carnival

Royal Mavericks @ Meeting Point - Ambience Mall, NH8 Date: December 29 Time: 9:30 am n initiative by Delhi Royal Enfield Riders Group, for the underprivileged children of The Earth Saviours Foundation. The kids will get to enjoy a picnic, with adventure activities, a camel ride, a bullock cart ride and dancing with a DJ – at a resort in Dumdama Village.

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their own 'high', personalised Art. Participating Artists include A.Rajeswara Rao, Anita Dube, Anjolie Ela Menon, Anupam Sud, Atul Dodiya, B Manjunath Kamath, Chandra Bhattacharjee, Chintan Upadhyay, Dileep Sharma, G R Iranna, Gopikrishna, Himanshu Verma, Jagannath Panda, Jayasri Burman, Jogen Chowdhury, Manisha Gera Baswani, Murali Cheeroth, Nayanaa Kanodia, Paresh Maity, Pushpamala N, Raghu Rai, Ram Rahman, Ranbir Singh Kaleka, Ravinder Reddy, Riyas Komu, Rohit Chawla, Sudhanshu Sutar, Sumedh Rajendran, Sunil Gawde, Thukral & Tagra, V Ramesh, Vivek Vilasini and Waswo X Waswo. The Exhibition is curated by Rupika Chawla.

Art

Museum Walk @ Sanskriti Kendra, Anandgram, MG Road Date: January 1st to 31st Time: 11:00 am guided tour through the 3 Sanskriti Museums. Contact: Ravinder Dutt at 9811681134

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Fun Fest

Art

Magic Hands @ Beanstalk, Galaxy Hotel, Sector 15, Part II Date: Up to December 31 Time: Through the day and night n Exhibition of Paintings by Arun Dev, Bose Krishnamachari, Murali Nagapuzha, Prince Chand, Ramesh Gorjala and Shyamal Mukharjee.

Dastkaar Fun Fest @ Nature Bazaar, Kisan Haat, Andheria Modh Date: Up to December 29 Time: 11:00 am onwards fun festival, in association with Delhi Tourism, which features various activities and entertainment for kids - and plenty of hand-crafted gifts on sale. Contact: 26806920

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mbark on an amazing culinary journey with the best of Rajasthani and Gujarati winter delights at this Winter Food Festival. The gourmet delicacies include Undhiyu, Bajri Rotla, Haldi ki Subzi, Sarson ka Saag, Bajri ni Raab, Gond ke Laddoo, Adadiya Paak, Ponkh Pattice, Leeli Tuvar ni Kadhi, Lilva Rice, Gajar ka Halwa and Lilva Pattices.

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Food

Food

Aavyo Shiyaalo @ Khandani Rajdhani, MGF Metropolitan Mall Date: Up to January 5 Time: 12 noon onwards

Super Lunch @ Zura, SCO No.40, Leisure Valley Road, Sector 29 Date: Up to December 27 (Mon-Fri) Time: 12 noon to 3:30 pm specially crafted 5 course buffet that includes Harrissa Chicken Skewer, Haryali Kabab, Chicken Tikka, Paneer Tikka, Handi Chicken and more.

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Art

When High and Low Art Meet @ Art Alive Gallery, 120, Sector 44 Date: Up to February 28 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (except Sunday) n Exhibition that brings new meaning to the fusion of the `low’ art of Ravi Varma’s oleographs, and the inspiration derived by contemporary Indian artists to make

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Music

Concert Tour of Keystone State Boychoir, Philadelphia @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: January 3 Time: 7:30 pm njoy the 60-staffed choir of boys, who create an unforgettable choral experience for the audience.

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Workshop

Serenity Surrender @ DLF Phase II Date: January 1 to 5 Time: 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm (Jan 1st); 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (Jan 2nd-5th) Workshop for kids aged 8.5 to 15 years, to help them develop confidence and feel empowered. The Workshop includes 'substantial healing', by Minal Arora. Write to minal@pastlifeconnection.com

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C oming U p

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

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Delhi's Artscape

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Sculpture Space

@ Chawla Art Gallery, Welcome Hotel, Saket Date: Up to January 25 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm Group Art Show by Ankit Patel, KS Radhakrishnan, Mukul Mishra, Prodosh Dasgupta, Satish Gujral and Tapas Sarkar, amongst others.

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@ Tab01-Kitchen & Lounge, Food Court, DLF Phase III

Featuring DJ Rippen along with resident DJ Rubel. Call : 0124-4283200-01-02-0304
9990965656, 9210919402, 9899929814


@ Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen, Star Mall, NH8 Featuring Panjabi MC Call: 
Neeraj : +919899692000/ Deepak : +918800294020


@ Kingdom Of Dreams, Sector 29 Featuring a Qawwali session, Stereo Nation and DJ Sunny Sarid. Call: 40124-528000

@ 32nd Milestone, NH8

The Garage Featuring DJ Raj Call:
124 2480400, 7838294048 Jalsa, India House Featuring dance performances and electronic mixes Call:
124 4870431 The Lawns Featuring smashing mixes by a DJ and dances by Cyclone Dance Troupe Call:
124 4081705, 124 4870400

@ Zorba, MG Road

Featuring Bollywood dancer Alisha, along with DJs

AFROgliuck (aka Berry Gangsta) and Nishant. Call:
011 26801251, 9654614161

@ Anarchy, Global Business Park, MG Road

Featuring celebrity DJs Hitesh and Subuhi. Call:
9811938569

@ Club Rhino, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road

A Masquerade Party featuring top DJs and a Belly Dance performance. Call:
9717778683, 9717009585, 8527100123, 8826800123, 9717779028

@ DoubleTree by Hilton, Sector 56, Golf Course Road

Asia Alive Featuring a spectacular Oriental New Year's buffet. Casablanca Featuring a special 5-course Moroccan menu. Lounge Featuring Bollywood music by DJ Bling Call:
(+91) 124 4911234

@ Threesixtyone Degrees, Hotel Oberoi, Udyog Vihar

Featuring world cuisine, epicurean delights, spirited cocktails, enthralling music and attractive prizes.

@ Courtyard by Marriott,
Sushant Lok Phase I

Featuring a theme dinner buffet, a live band and a DJ spinning music. Call: 1244888444/Ext 8245

@ Galaxy Hotel Shopping and Spa, Sector 15, NH8 Axis Featuring ghazals, along with a multi-cuisine dinner.

The Monk Featuring a sophisticated soiree with a 5-course meal of signature dishes, an unlimited flow of choice beverages and lilting strains of Oriental music. Howzatt Featuring resident DJ Sulabh, spinning magic to set the evening on fire. Call: 124 4868000

@ 7 Degrees Brauhaus, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road Featuring Suryaveer and Ehsaas, belting out Bollywood dance and Sufi numbers. Call: 9560822766, (+91) 9811753322

Nightlife

Rusty Nails @ Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy, Sector 15, Part II Date: December 28 Time: 8:30 pm njoy a Blues, Rock and Jazz Fusion evening with the Band, Rusty Nails.

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Rathika Ramasamy Workshop @ Panasonic Experience Center, IFFCO Chowk Date: January 5 Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Workshop on Wildlife Photography with Rathika Ramaswamy, one of India's first women Wildlife Photographers. The Session will include basic photography, best camera settings, equipment tips, understanding

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@ Exhibit 320, F-320, Lado Sarai Date: Up to January 18 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm rtchiving: An Artist's Perspective' is an Exhibition of the works of Gigi Scaria, Sumakshi Singh, Sonia Mehra Chawla, Nandan Ghiya and Sunoj D. The Show is curated by Ranjita Chaney Menezes.

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@ The Stainless, Mathura Road Date: Up to January 8 Time: 11:00 am-7:00 pm n Exhibition of self-portraits by Ajay Rajgarhia, Amber Hammad, Morvarid K, Pooja Iranna, Pratul Dash, Saadiya Kochar, Sandeep Biswas and Shivani Agarwal.

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The New Dawn

@ Dhoomimal City Gallery,
Aurobindo Marg Date: Up to December 31 Time: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm group of eclectic oeuvres d’Art by noted artists Thota Vaikuntam, Bikash Poddar, Anand Panchal and Shuvendu Sarkar and sculptures by Pushpa Devi.

@ Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy, Sector 15, Part II

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Featuring 'Isaac', a fun party Band.

lighting, exposure theory and compensation, composition and field tips and techniques, and ethics of wildlife photography.

Photography

Artchiving

Carnival

Christmas Carnival @ Kingdom of Dreams, Sector 29 Date: Up to December 29 Time: 12 noon to 8:00 pm he Christmas cheer continues at this Carnival. Enjoy the Christmas décor, dance, music, surprise gifts from Santa Claus and a food fiesta. Also on offer are stalls, jugglers, characters Chhota Bheem and Ben 10, rides for Kids, Art and Craft, live music, a snowman, a Polar Bear and Igloos.

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Manjusha

@ AIFACS, Rafi Marg Date: January 1-7 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm n Exhibition of the works of Sumit Basena, Manisha Sethi, Chirag Patel, Akshay Varma, Johny P Paulose, Tumpa Chakraborty and others.

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27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  Bhondsi Subedar K.P. Singh, who was killed on duty in Sudan, is laid to rest. CM meets family and promises a job for the soldier’s wife.  SIT starts enquiry into the ‘bogus votes’ case involving Minister Sukhbir Kataria.  Ex-Ministers are among those who wrongly filed papers for plots, says HUDA to the High Court.  1,044 cases are disposed by the Lok Adalat, in a one-day sitting (Saturday) by District & Sessions Judge, Dr. Shekher Dhawan.  Minimum wages are set to rise substantially in Haryana, wef January 1. Wages to ‘guest’ teachers will also be increased.  A married couple in Badshahpur commits suicide; a 26-year-old man from Baldev Nagar commits suicide.  A DJ shoots and kills himself with a country-made pistol.  A labourer falls to his death from the 13th floor of a construction site near  Badshahpur; a youth dies when the lift falls in an under-construction site near Badshahpur.  2 die in an accident near IFFCO Chowk, when a speeding car rams into a stationary car; 7 are injured.  A driver is held for raping a minor, on the pretext of marriage.  A 24-year-old man is booked for rape, for abandoning a 3-year live-in relationship and an 11-month-old child.  A woman is harassed and molested on her way to work, in Sector 10A – 2 men are arrested.  A guard is held for molestation, in South City 2; a plumber in South City 1 is apprehended for misbehaving with a maid.  A girl helps catch 3 people who were teasing her.  A drunken policeman in a car wreaks havoc on Old Railway Road, and hits 3 other cars.  A drunk man tears a policeman’s uniform, near Rajiv

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Tips

by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

Q.

What can I do to prevent my lips from chapping this winter?

SH

Daily apply cream of milk in the morning and leave on for an hour. If lips are dark, add a few drops of lemon juice to the cream of milk before application. Apply pure almond oil daily on the lips at night and leave on overnight. You can also look for a lip balm with sunscreen. Arushi Prabhakar

WINNER Ask the beauty expert questions on skin, hair and beauty. The best question (picked by Shahnaz Husain) will receive a gift hamper from the Shahnaz Husain Group. Write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

Chowk.  A woman is robbed of the gold bangles she is wearing, in a daytime robbery in a park – the thieves use a cutter.  A car is snatched from a businessman, at knife-point, near Medanta Hospital.  A Chinese national’s purse is stolen, in DLF II – it contained Rs 1 lakh and her passport.  A man is robbed and assaulted, in Palam Vihar.  A petrol pump on the Highway is looted of Rs 4 lakhs.  A truck driver is tied up and his truck snatched, on the Highway.  Burglars strike in 4 shops in a row on New Railway Road.  A man receives an extortion letter demanding Rs 10 lakhs – with a threat to life if ransom not paid.  Police retrieve 23 SIM cards and 16 phones from Bhondsi inmates. FIRs issued against 10 prisoners.  Drug Inspectors busts an unlicensed medical store.  ITI students create a ruckus in a moving bus, leading to the suspension of bus services in the City for a few hours.  GPS has been made compulsory on cabs that ferry BPO employees.  Traffic Tau, a campaign by Gurgaon Police, is launched.  NHAI refuses to allow Bus Q Shelters on the Highway; HUDA will use ‘green belts’ for this purpose.  Maruti workers threaten a stir (padyatra) in January, protesting the detention of their colleagues (148) for over 17 months in jail; they are also asking for the reinstatement of 2,300 workers who were summarily terminated.  MCG Commissioner promises revamp of Kamala Nehru Park. Sector 31 Polyclinic OPD starts functioning. Teachers have been made responsible for checking the quality of mid-day meals. A Legal Aid Clinic will open in Village Wazirabad.

Partying this New Year's Eve?

Send us photographs of your celebration and we'll publish selected photographs in the forthcoming issue(s). All photographs must be in high resolution Send us your contributions at: fridaygurgaon@gmail.com

In response to FG’s ‘Topic of the Week’ question -

What is your New Year's resolution for Gurgaon?

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OF THE WEEK

t the individual level the New Year resolutions are taken lightly. Some say they are made to be broken. Some resolutions are repeated year after year. But for an important, affluent and progressive Millennium City of a major State of the Nation, the resolutions made by its citizens should translate to better amenities and a better social and cultural environment – to a better living. 2014 is politically an important year for Gurgaon, Haryana as well as the entire Nation. My first resolution for the City would be to hope that all transitions of power are peaceful and smooth - without any violence or ill-will. May whichever government comes to power, deliver better governance and expedite the scores of development projects stuck in the pipeline. Gurgaon is a city that has a mix of senior citizens, highly placed corporate leaders, young employees and bright children. My second resolution would be to hope for more educational institutions for the children, more art and cultural centres and at least one major religious place for each faith - to bring about a Divine atmosphere and expose the population to some Godly inclinations (and not just faith in the materialistic culture of malls, food courts, clubs and games). My third resolution for Gurgaon would be to hope for better roads, with parallel cycling and pedestrian (walking) tracks. Gurgaon is a City that can pride itself on having some of the best models of cars and the most modern houses; but alas! there is little civic infrastructure to match them. Many inhabitants of this Millennium City, including from cities around the world, have seen or been accustomed to a high order of civic amenities and traffic discipline, as well as community living. My fourth and last resolution would be to hope for a City that would match the standards and aspirations of its worthy citizens. May we all see this Millennium City flourishing and be worthy of its name…from 2014. Ashok Lal 301A, Hamilton Court, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon 122009, Mob: +919873248847


27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG }

S pecial

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Something New this Eve

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com New Year's Eve celebrations typically mean watching a movie on TV (at home), at one end of the spectrum, and going to watch a ‘premium’ performance, at the other. This can get tiresome…dare we say, boring. Friday Gurgaon brings you five unique experiences – and yes, within the City – that you can be a part of, to ring in this New Year:

A Women-only Spa Party

Sheela Mahajan, a resident of Sector 46, has decided to celebrate this New Year’s Eve at a Spa Party. “This Party is open to women only – though they can bring their kids. They just have to pay Rs. 1,500 and we will provide them unlimited wine and food, and some much-needed pampering – courtesy the best Spa Therapists in the City,” informs Sheela. She feels that most women have to work almost 24x7 (office and/or home), and most deservedly need to treat themselves on this special day. Comfort Food - such as popcorn, pizzas, hot chocolate and some health drinks – will be on offer. There will be genuine games to be played - such as ‘twister’…and of course Cards. Special activities and a Kiddie Spa have been arranged for the children. “The Dress Code is ‘Pyjamas’! There is no need to spend money on something glitzy,” smiles Swati, who has already registered for the Party. “We have been party animals from our college days. However, now the music does get to you…and a special outing in this City is also not cheap. On New Year’s Eve we usually watch a movie or celebrate with a cake-cutting at home. This time I think the Spa Party promises something unique – it appeals to me,” she says.

Celebrate New Year in Paris!

Enjoy a Frozen treat

Imagine dollops of vanilla ice-cream scooped through a fried pakora! That is exactly what will be served at the New Year’s Eve Ice-cream Party at Rebeka’s, in the Galleria Market. Fried Ice-cream and Ice-cream Spring Rolls are ‘cold-in-hot’ delicacies that are today preferred by many youngsters. Interestingly, these are served mainly during New Year celebrations. A resident of Palam Vihar, Pooja, is waiting for the New Year’s Eve to pamper her sweet tooth with Fried Ice-cream. “It is a specialty of this Place that they serve this unique ice-cream only on New Year’s Eve. It is not just about Icecream; this Place makes special arrangements for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Last year they invited a young band, which was very entertaining. We are expecting something at least as good this year,” she says. This time Creambell’s Irish Cream will also b e served; Irish Cream has recently introduced a vegetarian version in the Country. “This is a Winter Ice-cream, made with Irish Coffee. People relish it in Europe, especially during Christmas and New Ye

Celebrating in the House of God

For many, simply celebrating in a Church or Temple is the best way to welcome 2014. Shikha Ahuja, 21, is not very religious, but she prefers to spend her New Year’s Eve in a church, where she enjoys the last prayer of the year. “There can nothing be better than trying to attain peace, at the start of a New Year. I feel great when the clock strikes midnight and the whole gathering starts reciting prayers. There is no noise, no alcohol and no nuisance. It gives you immense peace,” feels Shikha. Silently observing an early morning ‘Diya Procession’ at the Khatu Shyam Temple in ‘old’ Gurgaon is an interesting experience. Every year, many devotees assemble and take out a Procession with ‘Diyas’ in their hands. “A Khatu Shyam Mandir is located at only three places in the country – and one of them is in Gurgaon. However, few people in the City seem to be aware of it. Although the Hindu New Year differs from that of the West, we organize a small Procession every January 1 (early morning), to make people aware of the Temple, as well as the causes that we work for - such as ‘Gau Seva’,” informs Pt. Karamibuja, the Priest.

Nikhat, 29, never goes out on New Year’s Eve, as her kids are small and ASHA PANDEY it is hard for her to keep them awake for the midnight festivities. But this time she has found an answer. She can celebrate this Eve at the same time that people in Paris will be celebrating (which will be early morning An Ice-skating Party in India). It is a ‘Celebrate in Paris’ bash, being thrown by Sukhdeep Chawla at the The Ice-skating Rinks in the City are the perfect ‘winter locations’ to celebrate Country Inn. Sukhdeep, who moved from Canada to the City last year, says, “This New Year’s Eve. The Ice-skating Rink at the Ambience Mall is arranging a special Iceconcept is quite popular in the US and Canada. Many Gurgaonites can’t celebrate skating Party for couples. “We will provide special overcoats and waterproof socks the New Year at midnight, and so we provide them an option to celebrate with the and gloves for the elderly; and will serve sugar-free delicacies and hot chocolate to people of other countries!” The Party Hall will have LEDs on all the walls, where a all couples. We believe that an Ice-skating Party can be an active and exhilarating ‘live’ coverage of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris will be shown. Sukhdeep is experience – especially for couples. A partner may also choose to ‘chill’ outside the also offering ‘Celebrate in Sydney’, for those who want to celebrate an early New Year Rink and enjoy the good music,” says Jayant, the Manager. They are also holding in India. To make it more interesting, Italian food will be served in the ‘Celebrate in separate parties for Kids. A ticket for a couple starts from Rs. 2,500. Paris’ celebrations, while Continental delicacies will be offered at the ‘Celebrate in Sydney’ bash. The entry is Rs. 2,000 per couple. FG wishes all Gurgaonites a Happy New Year!u

For Subscription SMS FGYES to 8447355801


06  Contd from p 1 says that the discrimination is quite visible. ‘Old’ Gurgaon is asked to make do with a vintage Bus Stand that stinks, and will not even be upgraded (despite announcements), while the ‘new’ City Bus Stand has been proposed in “New’ Sector 29. The Civil Hospital, the main health lifeline, has been left in a shambles, and the new facility in Sector 10 is awaiting ‘inauguration’ for 5 years now. Meanwhile, more than 5 new 7-Star Hospitals have come up in ‘new’ Gurgaon – mostly on subsidized public land. Even the MCG, 6 years in the running now, has not been able deliver any new project for residents of ‘Old’ City. "Here they will find reasons as to why it cannot happen’; in ‘New’ Gurgaon they will find a way to make it happen. ‘Yes We Can’, for the Administration and citizens alike, only applies to the requirements of ‘New’ Gurgaon(ites). This is the ‘particular’ mindset that is ‘ruling’ Gurgaon today. The interests of the builders and the corporates are being promoted, while the original inhabitants are being pushed into the background,” alleges Goyal, who is extremely unhappy with the way the City is ‘growing’/’developing’. The locals allege that the State government is bent upon showcasing the glass and chrome ‘New’ Gurgaon as its great development story, notwithstanding the fact that there is no power to run these buildings in the summer and Gurgaon is on the brink of a major water crisis. The multiplicity of development agencies, like HUDA, MCG, private builders, and the District Administration - not to mention the Zila Parishad - is also being stated as a reason for the poor maintenance and development status of the ‘Old’ City. The residents want to know why new projects are being announced – almost every day - for ‘New’ Gurgaon, whereas the ‘Old City’ continues to be left in the lurch. ‘Old’ City residents cite bottlenecks at Hero Honda Chowk, Signature Tower, MG Road and Sadar Bazaar, a lack of sewerage and drainwater infrastructure and no parking facilities, as major problems that have been perpetually left unresolved - even as people suffer. The pathetic state of the Udyog Vihars, the foundations of employment and opportunity in the City, is an example of the shift in priorities – from a long-term vision and plan to a short term ‘land trade’. To correct this situation, Bhawani Tripathy suggests that HUDA should be made

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

C over S tory

The Great Divide to quit the City, at least in ‘Old’ Gurgaon, and this area should be handed over to MCG, which is an elected body and accountable to the people. “MCG should be divided into two zones (across the Highway), with two Zonal Commissioners - taking care of the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Gurgaon respectively. This could at least bring some semblance of equity in development”, he points out. A number of activists are apprehensive that, with the development of the Northern Peripheral Road (NPR), also known as the Dwarka Expressway, ‘Old’ Gurgaon will be further sandwiched between ‘New’ Gurgaon and the ‘New Sectors’ - as there is no proper connectivity proposed between them and ‘Old’ Gurgaon. Ashok Rana, President of the Sector 23 RWA, says that no one knows how the Expressway will be connected to the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway. “The current plan is to connect the new areas through the Palam Vihar-Jwala Mill Road, but it is highly impractical. This Road is not even able to bear the current load of traffic and there is little scope for expansion,” says Rana. The poor condition of the ‘Old’ Delhi-Gurgaon Road, which has not seen any expansion and has been under

Stand Up For Your Rights

maintenance for the last few months, further shows that this area is not on the priority of the government, alleges Rana. In his opinion, to renew the ‘Old’ City, the government will have to bring in better transport facilities, expand the roads and build flyovers and underpasses in certain key bottleneck areas. Meanwhile, new alarm bells have started to ring, as the government has allowed major IT projects and commercial complexes on the ‘Old’ Delhi-Gurgaon Road, as well as conversion of factory complexes into offices in Udyog Vihar. The setting up of an IT SEZ by Unitech, and some other projects including a five-star hotel, are likely to put additional pressure on the creaky infrastructure in this part of Gurgaon, says Sanjay Sharma, a resident of Sector 23. Sharma says that one of the reasons for lesser focus on ‘Old’ Gurgaon has been the lack of corporate offices and residential condominiums. “This part of the City is primarily ‘old’ house residences, and has its own charm. There is less commercialization, and the populace is more or less middle class,” says Sharma. In

To bring the Metro to ‘Old’ Gurgaon, a group of residents have launched the campaign, 'Stand Up For Your Rights'. It aims to highlight the disparity between the two ‘sides’ of Gurgaon - namely the ‘old’ and ‘new’, which has led to lop-sided development. A signature campaign, seeking the Metro, Rapid Metro and better connectivity of ‘old’ Gurgaon and adjoining sectors with Delhi and other parts of Gurgaon, was initiated on 15th Dec 2013 at the Razangla Shaheed Park (opp. Ansal Plaza, Palam Vihar). Anju Kapur, who along with a group of citizens has launched this Campaign, says that the residents of Sectors 21, 22, 23, Palam Vihar and other adjoining areas have launched this Campaign to bring Metro connectivity to the entire ‘Old’ Gurgaon stretch. The Group also called upon the Chief Minister and presented a memorandum to him. Kapur says that the response from the government was not very reassuring, as there is a deep-rooted prejudice towards the builder-controlled areas. The CM told them that it was not possible to bring the Metro to ‘this’ part of the City unless the residents found sponsors for the Project - which would run into hundreds of crores. The residents say that that CM (graciously!) agreed to issue an NOC if they could get backers for the Project. The Group asks why the government wants to get public transport funded by citizens, who anyway pay their taxes. Why is the State not ready to develop projects needed by the citizens – partly from the citizens’ own funds? Where is the welfare agenda of the State? In Gurgaon, education, health, housing and several key areas have already been almost privatized. Why are politicians and bureaucrats only working for the capital gains of builders, developers, industrialists and middlemen, question the residents? When will this stop? Time for an aam aadmi campaign, surely.

his view there is need to focus on the basic amenities of life - such as good transportation, better civic services, more public space for people and sports centres for the youth. He also believes that while the sectors close to the National Highway are in better shape – on both sides – the condition worsens as you start moving away. The presence of a large number of unauthorized colonies in ‘Old’ Gurgaon, as also the disputed area around the Air Force Ammunition Depot, are also being described as reasons for the lack of development ‘this side’. While government officials point out that they cannot start development in these areas, the opposition parties rubbish this argument. Gaje Singh Kablana of the INLD says that the Wards in which opposition parties have won, have particularly seen little development. A number of Councillors from ‘Old’ Gurgaon belong to the INLD and BJP. The two City MLAs have also failed to push local causes. Rana, of Sector 23, says that none of the Councillors or politicians has fought for infrastructure projects for ‘Old’ Gurgaon. Sonia Vaid, who often visits relatives in Jacobpura, in the heart of ‘Old’ Gurgaon, says that Sadar Bazaar and other nearby areas are choked with traffic, lack basic sanitation and are hubs of encroachment. Sharad Goyal is more radical in his approach, and says that unless people are united and come on the roads, to force things, nothing is going to change in the City. “The inhabitants of ‘Old’ Gurgaon, through their organizations and RWAs, and with the help of media, will have to send the message that they won’t accept the status quo,” says Goyal. ‘Old’ Gurgaon residents say that the government must come good on its promises to build flyovers to connect the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ City – and so help bridge the ‘IndiaBharat Divide’. It should also work towards creating better transport connectivity with Delhi - particularly through Dwarka. Yogender Dagar, a resident of Sector 22, says that children from ‘Old’ Gurgaon have to suffer a lot while travelling to Delhi University, and even other parts of Gurgaon. Bhawani Shankar Tripathy alleges that even education providers like FIITJEE and other institutes now prefer to concentrate in ‘New’ Gurgaon. “Lack of transport

connectivity across the Highway makes it difficult for people to travel,” he says. It is because of this that the residents of ‘Old’ Gurgaon had launched the ‘Metro Lao Sangharsh Samiti’, which is aimed at pressurizing the government to extend the Metro line to this part of the City. Though that movement had dwindled somewhat, the launch of Rapid Metro in ‘New’ Gurgaon has once again kindled the fire of discrimination for the ‘old’timers. Prem Kishan Gehlot, an ‘old’ area resident, says that there are a large number of senior citizens living in this area who need support in terms of better transport and social clubs, which were promised by HUDA Administrator Praveen Kumar. “If this does not happen, people soon will have to come on to the streets to protest,” he says. Several residents allege that the situation is similar to how the government discriminates against South Haryana. “’Old’ Gurgaon is the ‘new’ South Haryana for the politicians, as the government prefers the builder-developed, controlled and operated ‘new’ Gurgaon,” alleges Goyal. While the residents cry government apathy, Praveen Kumar, the new MCG Chief, is now promising to change the face of ‘Old’ Gurgaon - particularly the Sadar Bazaar area. “We are planning to build a multi-level parking facility in the ‘Old’ City, which will de-congest the area, and sites have been identified. I am also planning to set up a sports stadium at the Kamala Nehru Park, which will help the youth in a big way,” says Kumar. He promises that the MCG areas in ‘Old’ Gurgaon will see better development and civic facilities in the ‘days to come’. The residents of the City are hopeful that change will come, especially since elections are round the corner and the government will be in poll mode. The sword of AAP is also now hanging over the Congress. Dilli door nahin hai. They want the government agencies to work in a cohesive manner, rather than depending upon maverick officials wanting to run their fiefdoms independently. Gurgaon residents do not want to bank on any further promises, but want an institutional mechanism that will bring development as well as social cohesion to the City as a whole – else it would never be able to meet its Millennium aspirations, let alone goals. u


H appenings

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

07

Respect the Tau

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urgaon Traffic Police’s new mascot, ‘Traffic Tau’ was launched at a Press Conference, by Alok Mittal, Commissioner of Police and Bharti Arora, Joint Commissioner of Police, along with Ajit Jha, Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications-SABMiller India. Traffic Tau was unveiled by Bollywood actor Chandrachur Singh. ‘Traffic Tau’ would be seen on the roads promoting the message of Road Safety and providing a helping hand to the Gurgaon Traffic Police. This initiative is supported by SABMiller India’s ‘Respect the Road’ campaign and Home Safe.

Breaking Ground

Honda Foundation

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ver 8,000 Honda Associates and their family members celebrated the Foundation Day of Honda’s Manesar plant at a fun-filled Event. There were scintillating performances by Bollywood sensations Shradha Sharma and Indrani Patra. Stand-up comedian Rajiv Thakur (of Comedy Circus fame) kept the guests in splits.

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anish Patni of RE/MAX Realty Investmart received the Brands Academy Award for the Best Real Estate Broker of the Year (Gurgaon). Samir Chopra (Chairman & Founder of RE/MAX India) said, “It is a proud moment for all of us at RE/MAX to see one of our franchises win this Award.”

Smiling High

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Happy Christmas!

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LF5 ushered in the Christmas spirit with gala celebrations at Club5. DLF5 partnered with the NGO, ‘Save the Earth Foundation’, and celebrated Christmas with under-privileged children of Happy School. The children enjoyed the adventure games and rides; and the chocolate cakes, scrumptious meals and a pile of gifts brought a smile to their faces. The kids also participated in the Christmas tree decoration, Carol singing and dancing.

upporting a noble cause in a unique way, Gurgaonbased mountaineering couple, Ankur and Sangeeta Bahl, flagged off their ‘Climb for Smile’ mountaineering initiative, in support of Smile Foundation. The couple are planning to climb the 7 summits—Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Vinson, Denali, Carstenz pyramid, Kosciuszko, Aconcagua and Mount Everest—to raise awareness among individuals and corporates towards the cause of child education.

Master Celebrations

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itchenAid presented an exclusive X-mas Workshop with Master Chef Kunal Kapoor and Chef Utsav Rohatgi, at Foodhall. This two-hour Workshop aimed at bringing forth the authentic flavours of Christmas. The guests donned their Chefs' hats and joined hands with the Master Chef as he dished out some traditional Xmas specialties—like Plum cakes and cookies—and revealed some baking secrets.

Teeing for the Cup

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ol. Narinder Singh achieved 39 points to seal a berth for the Louis Philippe Cup 2014 at the Classic Golf Course. Singh will now represent the DLF Gurgaon team, captained by Jyoti Randhawa, as one of the three amateurs in the upcoming Louis Philippe Cup. This inter-city team event was launched two years ago, for a 100,000- strong golfing community across India.


08

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

Pedalling a new Cycle

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG}

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Safety tips:

Always wear a Bicycle helmet n  Stop and check traffic on the road n  Prefer not to ride at night n  Obey traffic signs and signals n  Ride on the right-hand side of the street n  Check your brakes before riding n  Give cars and pedestrians the right-ofway n  Wear light or brightcoloured clothes so that motorists can see you n  Be careful while turning left n  Avoid broken pavements and loose gravel - one can lose control of the Bike on them. n 

ASHA PANDEY

hile growing up in Gurgaon, one rarely gets a chance to Cycle on the roads. However, times just may be a-changing. 14-year-old Rishabh took to Cycling some four years ago, to combat a niggling pain. Now he rides about 10 kilometers everyday. “I was too embarrassed to take up Cycling, as I have always seen cars on the roads. But with the first push of the pedal, I fell in love with Cycling. There’s nothing to beat the feeling of Cycling…with the wind on your face!” he feels. Rishabh, along with his father and mother, actively participates in Raahgiri Day events every Sunday. Many adult riders also feel that Cycling is a great activity. Besides the high that it gives them, they believe that Cycling provides them an opportunity to get to know more about the City and even meet up with villagers. “When I Cycle to the Aravallis, I meet very simple and lovely people in the villages on the way. Had I not taken to Cycling, I would have never got this opportunity,” says Jairam, who moved to the City from the US last year. He also feels that Cycling provides an adrenaline rush that just can’t be experienced in any other activity. The City regularly experiences heavy traffic jams, and pollution and dust is continuously increasing. Cycling seems a good way to avoid traffic jams and escape from some of the pollution in the City. It is commendable that Raahgiri has ignited a Cycling movement in the City. Thanks to the efforts of a few environmentalists and Cycling enthusiasts, many office-

goers and top executives are taking to Cycling. Four years ago, Prashant, an executive, bought a bicycle and decided to ride to work. He feels that Cycling clears the mind and opens your eyes – to the beauty around, that we tend to just pass and miss. “The wonder of Nature can really be experienced while riding a Cycle. Speeding in a car can never offer such an experience. There is peace associated with riding a Cycle,” he says. Some people are now working to promote a Cycling

A piece of Advice Cycling enthusiasts suggest that you should keep yourself in good shape, eat right and stay hydrated… to ride better. A Cyclist needs to keep a proper balance of water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Cyclists should drink before embarking on a ride as well as throughout the journey…to stay hydrated. “If you lose even two per cent of body fluids while Cycling, due to perspiration, it could be harmful,” says Rishika, who is also a fitness trainer. Cyclists also need to understand the functioning of the circulatory system. The heart rate has a direct effect on their health and conditioning. Strenuous physical activity like Cycling pushes the need for more oxygen; the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat increases and the efficiency of the exchange process at the capillary level improves. Cycling therefore offers more health benefits than running, gyming and jogging.

culture in the City. Rishika, a resident, has mapped the City and laid out special routes and destinations for Cyclists. She wants to spread more awareness about Cycling and encourage Gurgaonites to Cycle. “People only know about the health benefits of Cycling. The knowledge about Cycling processes, training, nutrition and equipment is very poor, even among highly-qualified professionals working in MNCs. There is a lot we need to learn about Cycling,” she feels. Cycling has of course become hugely popular over the last decade or so, for its benefits to our health and fitness. So let’s see how we can progress.

Choosing a Cycle

1) Road-racing Cycle: One of the most popular Cycles is a Racing Bicycle. “It is designed for competitive Road Cycling. It is light-weight and extremely stiff, and offers great safety and comfort. It has drop handlebars, which are positioned lower than the saddle. The front and back wheels are close together, to ensure quick handling. All this makes it the best bike for children and the elderly,” says Manas, a City-based Cycling enthusiast. 2) Touring Cycle: Designed for touring, this Bicycle is robust, comfortable and capable of carrying heavy loads. It has a long wheelbase, to provide riding comfort, even while

carrying luggage. 3) Mountain Cycle: This is made for those who like to perform off-roading in rough terrain. Mountain Bikes are also known as MTBs. In general, Mountain Bikes have thicker frames and stronger wheels (while Road bikes are lighter and thinner). 4) Hybrid Cycle: Hybrids Bikes are a fusion of mountain and road Bicycles. The sitting position on a hybrid is similar that on a Mountain Bike, so it is more comfortable than a Road Mike. The tyres are slick, to achieve better speed. The bigger wheel size offers more rotations per minute. Hybrids Bicycles are ideal for city use and daily commuting because they offer comfort as well as speed. Hybrid Bicycles are available in two categories – Road-focused and Mountain-focused. 5) Fixed Gear Cycle: Beginners can choose fixed gear Bikes, as they are reliable, inexpensive and maintenancefree. However, a fixed gear Cycle is useless if one wants to ride in hilly terrain. 6) Folding Cycle: Those who want to carry their Bicycles in their cars can buy a Folding Bike.  It is designed to fold into a compact form, facilitating transport and storage.  It can be carried into buildings and workplaces, or on public transportation, thereby facilitating mixedmode commuting and Bicycle commuting. There are also

C ivic/S ocial Bicycles that provide similar advantages by separating into pieces (rather than folding)!

Where to Ride?

Luckily the City offers many beautiful sites for Cycling. The Aravalli Biodiversity Park is one of them. Situated right at the Delhi-Gurgaon border, it offers several pathways, which have been carved out for Cyclists. “It is my favourite Cycling destination in the City. It has a fully-developed cemented path, traversing from the west to the south-east, connecting the two natural depressions before arcing north. With this path serving as the main artery, four additional trails have been created along the periphery of the Park. Many people are using these paths for both nature walks and Cycling. It has made me and my son invest in a Bicycle. It is amazing to experience so much greenery in the midst of this concrete jungle,” smiles Rashmi, a resident of DLF Phase 1. The cemented path at the Biodiversity Park certainly offers safety to firsttimers and children. Interestingly, many women are also taking to Cycling. “Not just riding, we are learning to perform stunts! When I perform them, I feel that I am on top of the world. I prove to the boys that girls are more than a match for them. I think we modern girls can compete with them in all aspects,” says Jasmeet, a student. Bhondsi is another area that is preferred by the Cyclists in the City. Harjot, a student who has been Cycling in Bhondsi for the last four years, says, “Although the road is not good at the start, any pain is soon forgotten and over-ridden by the joy of Cycling and the sight of the beautiful surroundings (of the Aravallis)...and by a cup of morning cha. It is a good Cycling expedition.” Harjot, along with his friends, generally covers a 40 km terrain, from Bhondsi to Damdama Lake. It is the best Cycling destination for those who live close to Sohna Road and the Golf Course Road. The Gurgaon-Faridabad Road is another option. However, experts don’t advise children and women to ride on this road, as some cases of theft have been reported here recently.

Is the City ready for it?

Undoubtedly there is a growing band of the young-atheart and the brave, and even the ‘professional’ community, who have taken to Cycling. However, one can see them wearing helmets and riding down the roads on their expensive bikes only in the


27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

morning hours. Clearly Bicycling today is just a hobby for them. Very few have actually used Cycles as a means of transport, as riding on the City roads is extremely dangerous - given the chaotic traffic and the bad condition of the roads. Harman, 34, who used to ride a Cycle from his residence in Sushant Lok 1 to Cyber Park, met with an accident last year. “I took to riding when I joined a Cycling Club in the City. My office is situated just one and a half kilometres away from my home, so I decided to Cycle to work. It was however a wrong decision, as just a week later I was hit by a car and I broke my ankle in the accident. I think that the City is not ready, or even meant, for Cyclists. They can ride only in parks and far-off areas; and keep riding as a hobby only,” he says. A PR professional, Karan Parikh, feels that the introduction of Cycling in the City is an elitist trend. A long-distance Cyclist, Karan has been Cycling around the City for the last 15 years. He says, “I didn’t see too many of these people Cycling before the expensive imported Bikes became popular in India. While it is good that some people are taking to Cycling, will a common man ever be able to buy those expensive bikes?’ You can’t let people just jump on to the roads with a ‘regular’ bicycle”. Regular Bicycles are considered not fit for Indian roads, even if a dedicated cycling track is provided! The high-end Cycles are made of titanium and other high-performance materials, which don't come cheap. The price range starts from Rs 17,000 and goes up to two lakh rupees. Moreover, these Bicycles need regular service; and even accessories like reflectors, which are very important for safety at night, are available for Rs. 5,000. The Integrated Mobility Plan prepared for Gurgaon, in 2010, had provision for a dedicated Cycling infrastructure. A road network of around 210km was also earmarked for laying Cycle Tracks. But nothing has been done so far. “The issue is not just the construction of Cycle Tracks, but restricting the entry of cars and other vehicles on those tracks. In 2011 a small Cycle Track was made on MG Road, but people started parking their cars on that. Today there is not enough space to even walk on the Track,” says an official of Gurgaon Police. Safety is another major issue, especially for women. “We live in times when we want our girls to perform better than boys, and we know that they are capable of doing so. Unfortunately, the roads in the Millennium City offer no security for women,” says Rishika. As of now, women Cyclists ride only in groups, along with their male counterparts. There are other challenges: water-logging on the roads during the monsoon, an open drainage system in many villages (including those in ‘new’ Gurgaon), no parking areas for Cycles (even in corporates) and uncontrolled driving of cars (sometimes by the Cyclists themselves). Corporate support is, of course, key. Companies should provide basic facilities to employees who want to Cycle to work; lockers and showers should be provided to Bikers. Further, Gurgaonites need to be a little more patient and tolerant towards the Cyclists on the road. It seems that Cycling is becoming a favourite activity of many youngsters, and even children and professionals are gearing up to push the pedal. The challenge is to make the City Cyclefriendly. Although Raahgiri is seen as an effort to popularize Cycling in the City, many fear that the excitement will soon fizzle out. In many cities like Bangalore and Pune, Cycling enthusiasts did start drives, with Cycle rallies and festivals, and received a huge response; but the ground situation has remained the same. It is important for Gurgaonites to learn well from those examples. We need to continue our drive to push the Administration to make Cycling a feasible and effective means of transport in the City. An overwhelming response by Cycling enthusiasts during the Raahgiri days clearly shows that people are willing to switch to Cycling, provided the Administration supports the movement and ensures adequate infrastructure and security. u

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG}

09

Let's Play-Ride Pool

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C ivic/S ocial

and government-approved identification documents. For women, there is an additional safety feature. The Folkvagn system keeps all female members in the women's-only groups by default. The automatic listings, of probable co-travellers, will show only female travellers (to females). However, if you are comfortable travelling with (unknown but ‘verified’) males, you can change the settings in your account and view the list of all members travelling in the same direction. Even as a first time traveller, you can see the rating of a driver member. People are asked to rate the ride (in terms of star ratings).

ay you travel between Sohna Road and West Delhi in a Honda City every day. Here is an option. You still go by car, and pay just Rs. 3.50 per km. Folkvagn, a Car-pooling initiative, has made this possible. The Car-pool service helps people identify and share singleoccupancy vehicles that are plying across the City roads. With traffic-related stress becoming a part of everyday life, Car-pooling looks to be a sensible answer. It is starting to find takers in the City. Radha Shrivastava, 28, who has been travelling to Gurgaon from East Delhi, finds the Economics initiative a big relief. “Almost every car on the There is no entry or exit fee and no memroad, from a small Maruti 800 to big SUVs, has bership fee. There is no usage-compulsion; you one lone occupant - the driver. If some of these can use the facility on just a Monday morning, occupants could start sharing a car, the traffic and opt not to use it on other days. Remember, flow will be much easier and they may feel less a Car-pool helps save on fuel cost and helps reduce stressed,” suggests Radha. His friend, Nirmala, the burden on the environment. It offers one of the likes the Folksvagn ride as it gives her good most economical rides, at just Rs. 3.50/km. For those company for 30 kilometers. “I have been driving who drive, Folkvagn offers them an opportuto Delhi from the City, daily, nity to earn Rs. 3/km; you for almost a year. The traffic earn when you drive and during peak hours is a killer. take people along. Folksvagn How to use Folksvagn By the time I get to work I am also provides an option for 1)  To be a part of the Folksvagn Comtotally drained. Folksvagn has cashless travel. The online munity, register at www.folksvagn.com been a refreshing change in system has a prepaid facil2)  Set your Profile (Mode-passenger my daily routine. I no longer ity, where you can charge or Driving, Time and Location) travel alone; I get to share my your account and get tokens, 3)  Choose your Co-Travellers ride with wonderful people, which can be used to pay for 4)  Send requests or accept requests whom I would otherwise travel through Folksvagn to fix the travel. have probably never met. Our anywhere and anytime. Pay5)  ‘Pick-Up’ friends if you are Driving, Car-pool group often throws ments are made automaticalor get ‘Picked-Up’ by a Friend. a party on Fridays, while ly when the passenger gives 6)  Press the ‘Picked-Up’ button on on the way back home. This a command in the Mobile apyour mobile (or website) to complete one hour ride, though still plication. It makes the whole the travel and make the payment. This through terrible traffic, has process very convenient. You also notifies the next passenger, to be truly turned into a pleasant can re-charge the account ready for the Pick-Up.      experience,” she smiles. with a certain amount, so With an aim to make comthat you can use the Car-pool muting safe, convenient and economical, Folks- even when short of money. vagn is a community-based system that helps you share your travel with friends, colleagues Challenges and other like-minded people. Folksvagn invites Amid rising petrol prices, traffic congestion and motorists going in a particular direction and of- pollution, City commuters should be receptive to a fers the vacant seats in their cars to others go- concept like a Car-pool, which can help save money ing in the same direction. Download ‘Folksvagn’ as also reduce their stress from the daily drives. from app stores - it is available for iOS, Android, BB However, many are hesitant in using a Car-pool, as and Windows; then enter your personal details and they don’t want to travel with strangers. Some work see who is travelling in the same direction. “People odd hours, which makes Car-pooling impractical. can register and then look for car-sharing part- Further, security, timely service and cost-sharners, and also match their work timings and ing have to be worked out and evaluated before routes. Depending on whether you have a car or hand. Vinay, who has used other Car-pooling servicnot, you can offer a ride or accept a ride,” says es, says that ‘sometimes the Car-pool does not start at one of the officials of Folksvagn. Commuters who the scheduled time. If one is held up while returning, have used Folksvagn say that besides the monetary the others may not be willing to wait. It is important benefits, making new friends and networking are the to ensure that this doesn’t happen often.’ Rashmi, plus points of this Car-pooling. 
“Our Company has who always used the Metro to travel, from the Capital many Car-pooling teams. The Company has reserved to the City, had opted for Car-pooling. “I travel from parking space for Car-poolers; so even if we get a bit Paschim Vihar to Cyber City. I did use a Car-pooling late, we don’t have to struggle to find parking space,” service for a while, but found that it is not safe to informs an employee at Accenture. 

 travel with strangers - even if you opt to travel with Interestingly, Folksvagn goes beyond just women travellers only. I wouldn’t recommend travelsimple Car-pooling; it offers a non-restrictive ling with any stranger,” she feels. Some commuters system that allows flexi-timings, choice of travel also do not want to sit with people who talk too much mates, cashless payments, separate women's-on- or smoke (and cough); they therefore prefer to drive ly groups and pre-verified users. You can update alone. Some others may not want to share their car your start time in the profile and see who all are go- with anyone, as they view it as an intrusion to their ing in the same direction. The system will list the peo- privacy. ple who work near your office or live near your home A Car-pool makes sense – rationally. We all and who are travelling at the same time (as you). travel, have travelled, in public transport, with You can choose the people you wish to travel with. the public at large. When would we feel right For every ride, a ‘request-accept’ process is followed. about travelling together – in a private vehicle? Moreover, Folksvagn has a mechanism to verify It’s more about emotion...and yes, safety too. users. Those who register as drivers have to sub- Maybe the time will be when a car is not a top mit the proof of their car registration number status symbol. u


10 write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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oo much traffic passing through the residential area, commercial exploitation of the HUDA ground and the presence of a labour market in the vicinity has made life difficult for the residents of Sectors 3, 5 and 6 - which are sandwiched between Gurgaon Village and the unauthorized colonies that have sprung up. And during the monsoon there is heavy water-logging, as water from half of the City gets collected in some lowlying pockets of these sectors. Meenu Singh, the President of these Sectors’ RWA, says that they have repeatedly asked HUDA to build Rain Water Harvesting structures in the area, particularly where water collects for days together, making it difficult for even people to pass through. During the rains many patients are not able to visit the local clinics and hospitals. Singh says that since no action has been taken by the civic agencies on the RWA’s many representations, they are left with no option but to construct Rain Water Harvesting structures by themselves.

{ Abhishek Behl/ FG}

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he success of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi has motivated the rank and file in Haryana as the State goes to the polls next year. The Party believes that there is a strong undercurrent of frustration and anger against the Congress government, over corruption, land ‘deals’, nepotism and victimisation of honest officers like Khemka. Naveen Jaihind, member of the National Executive from the State, and a key AAP functionary, told Friday Gurgaon that Haryana is a fertile ground for the Party, as a number of volunteers from the State had actively participated in the Delhi campaign. The politics in Haryana has been dominated by a couple of families, who use their power to further their own interests and benefit some of their followers, says Jaihind. “AAP is a movement that wishes to cleanse our politics, which is dominated in many areas by dynastic rule - which has been the bane of the common man,” he says. The Party already has a functional unit in every district, and the goal is now to spread the volunteer base across Haryana. The Party will register 1 lakh

Resident Activism prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl/ FG}

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

The commercial exploitation of the Sector 5 HUDA ground is particularly a bother for those residents living close to or on the main road. Singh says that this ground is rented out to exhibition organizers, circus-walas and religious congregations, despite being in the heart of the residential area. “The people are constantly being blasted with a high noise level – due to frequent announcements and non-stop music,” says Singh. Political gatherings are also organised here, which bring in a lot of outsiders. To top it all, despite this

commercial exploitation – a charge of Rs. 20,000 per day HUDA does not even bother to maintain this ground, alleges Singh. The Ground also does not have a designated parking space, and visitors are forced to park their vehicles on the main road and the sector roads, which make it difficult for the residents to move around. The RWA has now decided that they will stage a dharna if HUDA does not stop renting this ground for all sorts of commercial entity. The RWA members also want the Labour Chowk, adjacent to their Colony, to be shifted to some commercial area, as it has become a recurrent headache for people and the traffic passing through the area. Singh says that a large number of labourers gather at this spot, from 7 to 11 in the morning, and it becomes difficult for residents to move around. The biggest casualty is security, as the free movement of so many outsiders has led to many cases of stealing. “We have tried to instal gates in the sectors but HUDA comes and removes them. When we ask them to remove the Labour Market, no action is taken,” says Singh.

Residents of these areas are also peeved by the failure of the civic agencies to maintain some basic facilities – like streetlights and parks. The RWA is spending a large amount of money every month for the upkeep of the parks; a number of plantation drives have also been carried out. “What should have been done by government agencies has now been done by the residents, at their own cost; this is sad,” says Singh. The absence of any large park, a club or a sports ground has made life quite boring for the families. “I want the HUDA ground to be designated as a park cum playground, so that children can play sports there,” she says. Further, the residents want a ban on the movement of large trucks and trawlers on Sector roads. The local residents say that this leads to frequent traffic jams in the area. The condition of the Community Centre is bad, as there is no designated caretaker. Singh says that for several years the building functioned without a proper electric meter, and it is only recently that a connection has been approved. What the residents appreciate is that the

AAP Coming volunteers in Haryana - with a primary focus on youth, students, women, NGOs and activists. It will include active members from every village - to become the torchbearers of the Party’s message. The process has already been initiated, and recently the Party held a Volunteers’ Meet in Gurgaon, Bhiwani, Jind and some other areas. With Kejriwal hailing from Haryana, the Party is hoping that the success in Delhi will capture the imagination of voters in Haryana. Jaihind says that people of the State are tired of the corruption in recruitments, government contracts and land deals. “The people want change. Our cadre is telling the people that the aam aadmi can get rid of the corrupt system, as has happened in Delhi,” he adds. Jaihind states that with a strong anti-Congress sentiment in the State, with the INLD leadership also being scarred by corruption, and the BJP-HAJKA combine not seen as a very powerful combination, there is good scope for the Aam Aadmi Party. “The people are looking for a political party that caters to the needs and demands of a common man, and is accountable,” he says. Of course, how Kejriwal and

Team perform in Delhi in the coming months would also play an important role in shaping the political fortunes in Haryana – as in the rest of the country. Apart from promising clean governance, Jaihind says that the Party will get to the bottom of the ‘Vadra land deals’, which it alleges have been allowed by the Hooda government, despite major violations of rules and losses to the exchequer. To add an edge to the Party campaign, AAP is planning to rope in IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who has been transferred multiple times by the State government, and even charge-sheeted for cancelling the mutation of a land deal involving Robert Vadra. Senior AAP leader Yogender Yadav, who hails from Rewari,

recently visited Gurgaon, and will hold meetings in Sirsa and Yamuna Nagar this week. Jaihind agrees that it would be difficult to reach out to the masses through social media campaigns in Haryana, which is primarily a rural state. However, he asserts that rural folk are even more aware of the political situation and are worried about the slowdown in agriculture, the massive pilferage from ‘rural development funds’ and the large-scale exploitative acquisitions of land (for the benefit of land mafia). “Corruption is a problem that affects every one in the country. The people in Haryana, whether they are from Rohtak, Sirsa or Gurgaon, want to get rid of it. And with AAP, they now have the political tool to help make it happen,” asserts Jaihind, who hails from Rohtak District. When asked how they plan to uproot the mainstream political parties, who play caste, regional and clan cards, the AAP leader says that the people have realised how they have been fooled in the name of these issues. People want development, jobs, security and minimum basic infrastructure

C ivic/S ocial water supply is better than some other parts of the City, the power supply is satisfactory, and sewage and sanitation services are generally working. Apart from collaborating with the government officials and agencies, the RWA also plays an important role in connecting the residents with each other. “We have organised many cultural functions and school children are invited to participate in the events,” says Meenu Singh. The RWA has also been instrumental in ensuring that work on the road dividing Sectors 5 and 3 was expedited, and storm water drains were laid at many places and then connected to the master network. The RWA says that people in these Sectors as well as nearby areas need to be united, and press the authorities to ensure that timely development and maintenance work is carried out. People pressure will best make the authorities sit up and listen, and help things to further improve, says Singh - citing the example of her own area where work began only when people started demanding accountability. The aam aadmi is surely not only waking up and asking questions, but also beginning to demand his/her rights.u and services, and AAP is committed to these, he asserts. The AAP onslaught has rattled the Congress and BJP, who are now strategizing new combinations, say political analysts. It is also being said that a section of BJP is having a rethink on its alliance with the Haryana Janhit Congress led by Kuldip Bishnoi. These BJP members feel that HJC has not even been able to strengthen its hold on the non-Jat votes in the State (which was expected from Bishnoi, being the son of former CM Bhajan Lal). While a section of the BJP now wants a tacit understanding with the INLD, there is unease in being muddied in the corruption mess. The AAP success in Delhi is being cited by many as a warning against those wishing to join forces with those who represent corruption and nepotism. The Party that has become the most worried by the Delhi verdict is the Congress. CM Hooda, in his own style - and perhaps still living in his own world - has described the emergence of AAP in Haryana as a hypothetical issue. Political analysts point out that if Congress chooses to ignore the Aam Aadmi wave in Haryana - as it did in Delhi - it may just be wiped out. The Aam Aadmi…Jaihind… bandwagon marches on... u


C ivic/S ocial

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

A Care-giver { Anita Jaswal }

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o love a person is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten. By loving one another we invest in each other and in ourselves. When we need someone to care for us, he/she may be the person we least expect; it would be someone whose love for us has assigned him/ her to the honourable yet precarious role of a ‘caregiver’. Rashmi Vohra has been a caregiver for years. After caring for her mother, brother, mother-in-law and father-inlaw during their early-onsets of cancer, she has realized how little is the support that families get during tough times. For the last few years she has been trying to make the lives of family caregivers in the City easier. Married to Admiral Vohra, Rashmi resides in Palam Vihar. After being a Navy wife, a role she played valiantly, with style, grace and love, today she is the Director, Hospitals (Gurgaon) – associated closely with Medanta, Artemis, Fortis and R&R Delhi (which is affiliated with the Indian Cancer Society). Her dream is to one day train Professional Caregiver Advocates all over the country. She also is a powerful speaker on the many loving lessons that she learned during her journey of caring for her loved ones. “We need to create a social change that values care giving,” she says. “More than a million people are diagnosed with cancer each

year. Whether you have cancer or are close to someone who does, understanding what to expect can help you cope. To me, honour and respect meant that I had to have patience, tolerance and love during the difficult days. It meant doing everything for my mother—emptying bedpans, changing sheets, preparing meals that would not always be eaten. I did this from a place of love - just as my mother had changed my diapers, prepared food that I would not eat, and kept me clean and safe as a child. The frustrations aren’t going to magically disappear, but what can change is your understanding of them,” says Rashmi.  “I love care giving.  The smile on the faces of the people I care for is overwhelming, and makes me feel that I have done my job right. I have always enjoyed helping people, so I know I am doing the right thing,” she says. You are not alone, she says to people having cancer. “The Indian Cancer Society. was founded with the stated objective of providing cancer awareness and education, as well as offering high quality-low cost cancer screening facilities.  Prevention, through awareness and understanding, was the only way to fight the scourge of cancer. Through Cancer Jagriti, a group of trained volunteers delivers cancer awareness talks at a wide variety of locations schools and colleges, offices and factories, women’s’ groups, urban slums, villages - along with

other socially committed organizations. Founded by a cancer survivor, all members of Cancer Sahyog have had a personal experience with cancer. Besides offering an ear and a shared experience, volunteers provide literature, helpful suggestions and tips regarding the side effects of treatments.  Most of all, volunteers in hospitals, all of whom are survivors, offer hope. The annual Walk for Cancer Awareness  is a popular fixture on the Delhi calendar, as is  Cancer Survivors Day. Many Hospitals bring their patients to the Events. Inspirational leaders flag off the Walk and sports Icons are invited to inspire the children. Prashanti  encourages a serene return to normal living - after being ‘cured’ of cancer. Working under the aegis of ICS, this is a Centre for Healing therapies. Most cancers are curable if detected early. Many cancers are avoidable; one needs to be awareness of the lifestyles that help create them. You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience that makes you stop and look fear in the face. The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle and loss, but have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life, which fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. I hope to carry the message of cancer prevention through awareness, and by giving care wherever and whenever,” says Rashmi. u

Reviving the Ras of Gathas { Sujata Goenka }

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very night, as children, my sister and I would wait for our maid to come and sit by our bedside. She had came into the house with my grandma (Nani), and even brought up our mother. She would come and sit down and start reciting stories. We would egg her on. The stories never ended. Some nights there would be fairies, sometimes witches and often they would be woven around a traveller called Baba. We would go to sleep as we travelled with Baba down mountains, fighting loins; or living in fairyland with winged dolls; or running away from monsters who wanted to eat naughty children. As a result, when I grew up, my nieces and nephews would love to curl up with me and listen to my stories; stories that I would weave till they dropped off to sleep. The next day they would ask me to begin from where I left off. They knew that no story could be repeated - the spell would break. That was my secret with them. Today the children go to sleep with the TV, cartoons, tablets or mummy‘s mobile. Children have lost interest in oral stories, as their world as been invaded by audiovisual gadgets. Thank-

fully, a few days ago I saw a post on the FB Gurgaon Moms page, called Ras Gatha. It was about a group that holds workshops on story (gatha) telling. Here was someone trying to revive the Art of storytelling. I joined the group and was pleasantly surprised at their range of activities. They have not only involved school children but have even invited adults to join in and read out their works aloud. This Saturday they held an event at the Panasonic Centre. Deepti Pant, a woman who has given up a corporate career to involve herself not only with story-telling but all the dying Arts of India, recited a portion from the Mahabharata. She has rewritten it, to suit the modern audience. Even without a stage, and no make up or props, the characters came to life, as she has artistically built the backdrop of each scene. We were mesmerized. The simple art of story-telling left us enthralled. Story-telling enhances our language and develops the imagination in children and adults alike. Its interactive nature ensures that social skills are not lost. I hope more youngsters get exposed to this great Art, before we all get immersed in the totality of the virtual world - where human warmth is sorely missing. ps - Anyone interested can contact Deepti Pant at 9910114584.

11

Jan Lokpal, Corruption & Projects { Vijay K. Saluja}

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he last two years in India have been fairly historic & game-changing. This has been the period of intense activity by the members of the Civil Society. Some of the prominent among these have been Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal & their associates. The noble agenda for all these activists has been: to find ways to arrest the growing corruption in the country, to bring back the black-money stashed abroad by some of the prominent Indians in positions of authority, and to bring about accountability & transparency in governance - so that the ordinary citizens (aam aadmi) do not have to run from pillar to post while dealing with the various rungs of the legislature and executive. Many methods - agitations, hunger strikes, dharnas, public discourses - were adopted by the anti-corruption crusaders to achieve their objectives. The media, including the digital media, came in very handy, for spreading their message far & wide. The authorities, for reasons best known to them, instead of providing a positive & well-needed support for these right causes, became antagonistic; for them it was ‘you’ (activists) versus ‘me’ (govt./politician). These actions resulted in the widening of the chasm between the rulers and the ruled. Finally, after a lot of dilly-dallying, the Jan Lokpal Bill perceived by many as the panacea for arresting & removing corruption, was passed by both the Houses. However, differences also arose. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) - the newly formed political outfit led by Arvind Kejriwal, an earlier close associate of Anna Hazare expressed its concerns about the various provisions in the ‘passed’ Jan Lokpal Bill, & felt/is feeling that the Bill would not be adequate to banish the deep-rooted corruption. It is worthwhile to reflect on this. There were/are already so many govt. agencies - CBI, CVC, Vigilance Departments in each govt. organization - whose main mandate was/ is to inter-alia curb corruption. Besides, all the officers of the Centre, States & Local Govts., as per the laid down Conduct Rules, have to be persons of integrity & have to take suitable steps to prevent corruption in their respective departments/ organizations. What have they been doing all these years? Why did the Presidents of India, Prime Ministers, Ministers, senior bureaucrats, the judiciary – all of whom have sufficient powers - not take suo-moto actions or other steps to check the growing corruption all around? Have they also been waiting for the Jan Lokpal? If so, why? How will the newly appointed Jan Lokpal be able to arrest corruption? Where will the persons of that stature, unwavering integrity & sterling qualities come from? In case they are found (yes, fortunately there are still persons of integrity around…and performing, too), they will have to work along with hundreds of staff-members who may be no different from the present staff of the various vigilance organizations. These are some of the many moot points. Corruption & unethical practices have very badly affected the engineering projects of the country. Some of the affected areas are: decision making, improper monitoring, hardly any/minimal use of available IT tools. Won`t a sizable number of projects get further delayed as, to my mind, there could be paralysis of decision making in some quarters, because of the fear of the Jan Lokpal? Unless the skills of the govt. officers are also upgraded on a sustainable basis & a strong dose of values & ethics is also inducted through the training programs, things may not change. It is high time we start rebuilding our society on ethical foundations. For that, many steps are needed. Passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill (though a major milestone) is not enough…even to arrest the menace of corruption in Projects.   Director, Giraffe Heroes India Program www.giraffe.org   Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi www.issin.org n  Ex-Chief Engineer (Civil), New Delhi Municipal Council n  Ex-President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association u n n

Director, Giraffe Heroes India Program


12

K id C orner

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

Artistic Strokes

Kids Brainticklers

Anupam Mishra, Class-IV C, DAV Public School

Aanya Bansal, K R Mangalam Calling all Educationists, The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t. Administrators, Co-ordinators, Teachers and Principals – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (400-500 words) For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon.com

Sippu Utkarsh, Chiranhjiv Bharti School


27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

American Montessori Public School

K id C orner

13

The Hockey Gurus

Care on the Road

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he students of Class II were taken on an educational trip to the Traffic Park in Sector 29. The kids were escorted around the Park and the Inspector-in-Charge emphasized the importance of following traffic rules. He familiarised the students with various road signs, and also told them about the use of subways, footpaths, over- bridges and zebra crossings. He encouraged children to speak to their parents on the dangers - and the crime of using cell phones while driving.

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he Hockey Team of Gurugram Public School participated in the Delhi Wave Rider’s Inter-school Hockey Tournament, organised by Hockey India, at the Major Dhayan Chand Stadium. More than 30 schools participated in the Event. Gurugram beat Heritage School, Gurgaon, 3 – 1. The goal scorers were Gaurav, Mohit Bhati and Abhinav.

Sporty Ryan

R Parents Meet Teachers

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Parent-Teacher meeting was held, wherein the parents interacted with the concerned teachers about the progress of their wards. A nutrition expert provided suggestions and tips to the parents on various healthy and nutritious snack options for children. A book stall had also been put up.

yan International School, Sector-40, participated in the 1st Inter-School District Roller Skating Championship at the Vivekanand Academy Senior Secondary School. The Boys’ Team won 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze medals. Arshelle Raheja and Aditya bagged the Gold medals; T.A Shreyas, Kushal Rao, Kritik and Siddhant won the Silver, and Manav and Aviraj won the Bronze medals. The Girls’ Team also emerged as winners, with Uditi, Rimjhim, Riya and Aryan winning Gold medals, Simran a Silver and Mansi a Bronze medal. The School also participated in the 2nd Inter School Open Karate Do Championship, held at the Laburnum Public School. The Team won a Gold, and Gourish Baberwal won a Silver medal. The students were felicitated by the School Head, Peeya Sharma, at a special Assembly.

Euro Celebrations

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ports Day and Christmas were celebrated with great enthusiasm at Euro International School, Sec 45. The Chairpersons, Satyavir Yadav & Sarla Yadav, Director, Reena Sharma and the Principal of the Sec 10 branch, Nidhi Kapoor, lit the lamps. Wonderful Christmas Carols were presented by the Montessori students. A lively performance, marking the birth of Christ, was staged. Fun sports were organised. The Programme ended with a vote of thanks and a shower of blessings.

Annual Swiss Day

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wiss Cottage School celebrated its 7th Annual Day. Dr. Praveen Kumar, Administrator, HUDA, was the Chief Guest. Also present at the occasion were Chairperson, Ms. Raj Dagar and Trustee Virender Dagar. The Annual Report, highlighting the achievements of the School, was presented by the Principal. This was followed by brilliant performances by the Junior and Senior students. The theme of the Programme was, ‘The Show Must Go On’. This serious message was presented in an entertaining manner, using some scenes from Indian movies. Prizes were awarded to the students, for excellence in Academics, Sports and other Co-Curricular activities.


14 Manav Rachna International School, Sector 46

K id C orner

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

Chiranjiv empowers Artisans

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rtisan Hub, a social enterprise established under the aegis of Chiranjiv Bharati School, Palam Vihar, provides a platform to small artisans to find their place in the Art realm. It helps low income artisans/artists earn a living and learn valuable skills. The Enterprise achieved it’s first milestone of empowering the small artisans by donating tools and materials like sewing machines, paints, colours and brushes. Principal Sangeeta Saxena distributed these items to artisans from Choma Village, Palam Vihar and Sector -14.

Cricket Manavs

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he final match of the ongoing ‘6th Under-14 Inter-School Cricket Challenge Cup’, organised by Manav Rachna International School, was played between Manav Rachna International School, Sector 46 and Lady Florence Public School. Team MRIS-46 won the Trophy for its School and was declared the Champion. Digvijay Kataria, Class VIII, MRIS-46, was declared the Man of the Match. In the Championship, Digvijay Kataria and Gaurav (from Lady Florence) were declared as the Best Batsman and the Best Bowler respectively.

Winter Wisdom

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tudents of KG-3 presented an Assembly on the topic,’Winter Season’. They spoke about the precautions to be taken to protect ourselves from the cold and chilly weather. They also presented a lovely dance on a winter song.

Ryan International School, Sohna Road

Creative Ryan

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hubhankar Biswas of XI-A made the School proud by winning 2nd Prize at the National Creativity Olympiad, held at IIT Delhi. Shubhankar also received a cash prize of Rs. 15,000. School Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta congratulated him on his achievement.

Merry Ryans!

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hristmas celebrations were held at the School premises, with enthusiastic participation from all the Wings of the School – from Montessori to Senior. The Programme included Carol singing and a nativity play by the seniors. Montessori and Primary students donated clothes, crayons, cakes and goodies for underprivileged kids.

It’s Story time!

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he Montessori students got a wonderful opportunity to attend an interesting and interactive Story Telling Session, conducted by Shalini Tayal. The warm-up to the Session began with fun-filled action rhymes. Shalini kept the students busy and active by making them participate in repeated interesting activities. The tiny tots enjoyed listening to the stories and participated enthusiastically.

Paintings stories poems

Safety Natak

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ittle Ryanites from Ryan Global School, Sector 40, participated in a Nukkad Natak Competition, organised by Gurgaon Traffic Police as part of the Road Safety Week. Through the Play, the kids emphasised the importance of safety measures to be followed on roads. The Chief Guest of the function, Bharti Arora DCP (Traffic), felicitated the children for their awareness and efforts.

For children – write a poem, an article, a fictional story or even a real life experience (300-350 words). See it published in Friday Gurgaon – make your teachers and parents proud! For teachers/administrators/ co-ordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (400-450 words). For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon.com


S piritual

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

15

Treating the malignancy of Hatred { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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e fear our feelings; we fear their destructive potential. Many people go through life trying to protect others from their feelings, which they have never learned to handle safely. The commonest reason for their seemingly unassertive behaviour is a suppressed hatred or anger. The person fears that, by being assertive, a great torrent of invective may escape him and cause untold harm. The wind that can whip the fire into a destructive inferno is the wind of hate. This may also be referred to as ego. In common parlance ego is something that gets in the way of a natural, healthy psychological functioning. In spiritual terms, a strength of character corresponds to the absence of ego. When ego is awake we close our minds to some of the feelings that are constantly bubbling up and also some of the information provided by our external reality. We get into a notseeing mode and it closes part of us down; its effect is that we keep the painful parts of our life out of view - and resultantly out of our control. However, despite what we know is inside us, we want to stay calm. It is seen as a kind of kindness to others. But there is a better way. We have to train our character to retain the fire and the feelings, but have them under control. Then, though self-control, we can even exude confidence. Often many senior citizens as well as parents of ‘special children’ say that they are out of touch with their feelings. Our feelings arise from an exposure to particular stimuli; a person who is out of touch with his feelings is probably not facing their affliction and impact either. What comes up in us is largely a series of conditioned responses; it is not a matter of ‘looking for feelings’. It becomes the role of the therapists or the counsellors to re-present to patients the hard reality, by amplifying the stimulus and helping reduce the distance with the reality of their lives. The most dangerous emotions that afflict people at a big level are hate, hatred and scorn. If these emotions are seen at a larger level, the haters have caused severe damage to progressive energy, since the dawn of human existence. The spirit of hate is

such a powerful emotion that it can possess any unsuspecting victim at a moment’s notice. Hate is also defined as envy. Haters keep the jails, hospitals and morgues full. The spirit of hate can attack one at various stages. The only way one can escape it is to rebuke it, otherwise it will leave you unproductive and miserable. Hate is an odious, malevolent malady; it is real venom. Once it infects the heart, nothing in our neighbour any longer pleases us. If he walks, his gait is felt as proud and haughty; if he laughs, he is derisive; if he weeps, he is hypocritical; if he looks grave, he is insolent. Every fault swells in magnitude, and every virtue shrinks into littleness. There is no faculty of the human soul as persistent and universal as hatred. There are hatreds of race and sect, and social and personal hatreds. If thoughts of hatred were thunder and lightning, there would be a storm over the whole earth all the year round. Hatred means an intense aversion or active hostility, which is expressed as a settled opposition to a person or thing. Hatred is that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity; which inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things; which makes him sour, crabbed, and repulsive in his general demeanor; which brings a scowl over his face and infuses venom into his words. Hatred allows us all to be tricked into not seeing the brotherhood of man; it leads to closedmindedness - closing one to the healing powers of spiritual energy. To heal, one has to be completely open to compassion, forgiveness and love; these have the right effect on our body, mind, spirit and surroundings. People hate because they do not love. A loving heart has no place for hate, bitterness and malice. Love is an attitude of mind that will never allow it to be bitter, and which will never seek anything but the highest good of others - no matter what is the attitude of others. It is also said in psychiatry that love is the thesis, hate the antithesis; and most people die caught in the

struggle and conflict between the two. They are never able to see that there is a subtle connect between love and hate; they are not two energies but only an energy having two polarities. They are just like the negative and positive in electricity - though electricity all the same. Hate is also a kind of love... standing upside down. You may forget your friend, but you cannot forget your enemy; the enemy haunts you more than the friend. You think more of destroying the enemy than helping the friend. Hate always goes deep; it cannot remain superficial. The man who is working for enlightenment has to find a bridge between the dualities, because without finding the bridge he cannot transcend them. And the bridge is there; it has only to be discovered. Love can become hate, and vice versa; they are capable of transforming into each other. They cannot be different energies; they are just different situations - states or poles of the same energy. The destructive effects of hatred are very visible, very obvious and immediate. For example, when a strong or forceful negative thought arises, at that very instant it overwhelms one totally and destroys one’s peace and presence of mind. When that hateful thought is harbored inside, it makes one feel tense and can even cause a loss of appetite, leading to loss of sleep. Hateful thoughts arise in us when we feel hurt, or feel that we have been unfairly treated by someone. At that instant, there is a sense that it comes as a shield or protector, as a friend that would help our battle - in taking revenge against the person who has inflicted harm on us. In reality that is an illusion; it is a very delusory state of mind. New research has uncovered reasons why some people seem to dislike everything, while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it is all part of our individual personality - a dimension that researchers have coined as ‘dispositional attitude’. People with a positive dispositional attitude have a strong tendency to like things. The dispositional attitude construct represents a new perspective, in which attitudes are not simply a function of the properties of the stimuli under consideration, but are also a function of the properties of the evaluator. Some people may simply be more prone to

focusing on positive features. People with a generally positive dispositional attitude are more open. An attitude is not simply a function of an object’s properties, but also of the individual who evaluates the object. Hatred brings about a very ugly, unpleasant physical transformation of the individual. In addition, when such intense hatred arises, it makes the best part of our brain, which has the ability to judge between right and wrong and assess long-term and shortterm consequences, totally inoperable. It seems almost as if the person has become crazy. When we think about these negative and destructive effects of hatred, we realize that it is necessary to distance ourselves from such emotional explosions. We cannot get protection from wealth; nor can education, or even the law, guarantee any protection. Only the practice of tolerance and patience can give refuge or protection from the destructive effects of hatred. While anger and hatred do

not show up on an X-Ray, the damage they do to our health sometimes shows up. Help yourself be healthy - avoid hate. Train yourselves to react in a positive manner. Work on your beliefs, to produce positive patterns. While we may never completely eliminate the negative feelings from our lives, we can work on converting them into positive energy. We are not made of different stuff from the people we might choose to scorn or hate. To be proud of ourselves while devaluing others is simply selfdeception. If we have some special talent or particular virtue, we have it for a purpose – it must benefit the world. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

The River called Life { Shobha Lidder } Drop some, keep some add some Life is a river, ever flows Never stops, just goes From source to estuary Short destinations no sanctuary It is so pure, powerful n forceful Sparkling, vibrant & youthful Fresh, refreshing, zestful As it moves from the mountains to the plains It slows down, gathers dirt & frowns It is now carrying the burdens of life It moves with considerable strife Brave, fearless, unrelenting…sometimes sad & lamenting This River moves on, magnetized by its goal Of merging with the sea & attaining a pure soul It sheds some of its attributes, its healing attitudes It has collected some stress & guile It still has to go a while It has learned some wisdom & grace Slowed down its pace, with age That is the age-old adage. She will wash & rinse again, and fall as snow rain On high mountain terrain Life will begin again, with a new name That is the cyclic game. Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


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27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

Lage Raho Arvindbhai Congratulations Arvindbhai. It’s time for action now – for deeds, more than words. From now, let AAP ka work do the talking. It is what you and your team has done best, and what has surprised everyone – including established parties. You know that it is your deeds and actions (not mere words) that are firing up the nation, and leading to expectations and aspirations across the country – as well as demanding accountability from local governments. Participation in daily TV debates can be addictive. From now, it should be less about debates, more about Reports…on what you have planned for the people of Delhi, and what is the progress. That should anyway help reduce the debate.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Your 29 Nov. - 5 Dec. 2013 issue, with the cover theme story ‘Gurgaon Darshan’, impressed me. After going through the contents/concept, I feel/suggest that there is wide scope for expansion and diversification of this Theme under the Friday Gurgaon banner, in association/ co-operation with local Departments/Commercial establishments/Builders/ Developers, for the benefit of visitors/residents. Your weekly paper is for and by Gurgaon(ites), and there cannot be any other paper that could do a better match/treatment to the Theme. The cartoon on the back cover of your paper is always attractive and communicative, but requires to be given wider display.  If you consider this suggestion, perhaps we could enlarge the concept you have already initiated, to cover facilities like: Healthcare, Restaurants, Educational Institutions, Malls, Multiplexes, Art and Culture, Parks (like Biodiversity/Leisure Valley), Metro/Rapid Metro, local shopping areas etc. All this and more would require involving Haryana Transport Department, HUDA, MCG, MNCs, Malls, Kingdom of Dreams etc. There could be two (Gurgaon Darshan) trips (0900 hrs to 1500 hrs, and 1600 hrs to 2100 hrs.) during the day for the benefit of visitors/residents, through the involvement/cooperation of Haryana Transport Department, who should make available their good Volvo Buses (on payment). Regards,

O.P Ratra

C omment

But before all this, you may have already seen what needs to change most…of you and your team changing, from being activists to becoming politicians (and proudly so). Yes you are good politicians now. You changed course when the Congress promised unilateral support and AAP spotted an opportunity. The change demands that you truly put the requirements of the aam aadmi first, especially for the delivery of civic services. You have moved from being activists, having a single ‘corruption’ focus (mainly on past ‘deals’), to politicians whose electorate (and their families) is looking at you for its daily deliverance

In the almost entire focus on basic civic services, you should not forget the future. At least Solar Energy finds mention in your Manifesto. Good to see the option for a consumer to sell to the grid. Maybe a ‘model sunny Ward’ could be chosen for a ‘fit-out’.

Do rethink your decision on ‘no FDI in Retail’ for Delhi; a modern Farm to Retail program will help remove middlemen and exploiters who are today exploiting farmers and also fuelling the food prices and inflation – a form of corruption that needs to vanish. It will also help reduce wastage. Protecting middlemen and traders, at the cost of the farmers and the public, cannot be your agenda - even if the former were your vote bank, which they are not. in the present. Let the investigations into corruption proceed through a truly independent body (till the Jan Lokpal is appointed), while AAP focuses on delivering civic services to the people. There cannot be witch-hunts. Also, let not your previous experiences overly cloud your judgment – especially about people/groups/sects. Be careful, lest you promote or develop a current/ex-bureaucrat nexus – however honest and efficient the persons may be. Politicians started likewise. Coteries soon become harmful. Most importantly, it’s time to implement the Manifesto. The people should preferably be told the AAP Plan for the first 6 months - on what you will do, how, where and by when; and who will decide, and who will do. There should then be a Monthly Report on each of the 18 Manifesto points, and a Report by each Minister/Dept. Let media have copies of all important letters issued (e.g. for regularization of colonies), and the replies. Why wait to be out-RTIed? By all means be populist, but not profligate – you cannot burden future generations. Surely you will deliver consistently and constantly. It may have been prudent to have implemented the promise on water after a preliminary check on Ward-wise ‘official’ status, and after assigning a Ward-wise water tanker plan. This should not have taken more than a month. In fact the ‘easier’ decision should have been on power, where an initial 30% could have been announced from January billing itself. After all, the AAP 50% reduction promise clearly did mean that a subsidy would have to be born for some time – till books and meters were checked and rates re-negotiated. If Swaraj can help AAP

make the near-defunct Public Distribution System (PDS) and Primary Healthcare System (PHS) work, it would truly be a miracle. What a challenge, Sirji! Citizens Charters should in fact keep all departments honest (last heard of during the Emergency). Do also look at petrol and/or school fee subsidy vouchers for the lower middle class; fortunately it is easy to identify such beneficiaries in Delhi. Citizens’ Security Forces in each Mohalla is a practical and wonderful idea. If these Forces can deter all forms of eve-teasing, day and night, in their localities, we will see a change in behaviour very soon. It is also heartwarming to see that Social Justice, especially for the under-privileged in the unorganized sector – like domestic workers and rag pickers – is in your Manifesto. Finally, it is good to see that AAP would encourage honest officers and protect whistleblowers. Rather than only concentrating (like most media) on punishing the guilty, it is most important to recognize and support the ‘good guys’. The first 6 months is also a good time to roll-out ‘models’ – like for Public Toilets and ‘pucca’ houses for the slum dwellers. Model sites in a few Wards could be identified and the projects planned and completed, within 6 months. These are also projects that would be best undertaken under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Yes, private enterprise needs to be

While looking to benefit the public and handing out muchneeded support, it is as important to also take some tough decisions on wrong practices. It is important for all govt staff to deliver as per Citizens’ Charters and be productive; inefficient staff needs to be moved out. Similarly, AAP must come down hard on any further occupation or construction in any unauthorized (current or new) area in any part of Delhi.

Regarding the support from the Municipal Corporation or others, if you say you have not allied with anyone, then why expect this? Why expect Central support on items that even the last Congress govt did not receive for 15 years? You cannot fight these issues on the basis that these were promises you made to Delhi voters. This is real-politik. an integral part of the AAP strategy. Private is not a dirty word and the Profit motive is not synonymous with corruption. Private enterprise can be most productively used for social work too. Arvindji, going forward, you should play as in a Test Match – it’s just a matter of converting days to years; and today it’s ok to play unorthodox even in this format. There would be little benefit in threatening to go on a dharna, or to resign, every few days. Once you have taken a ‘political’ decision to govern. despite not having a majority, you must try and last – for the people’s sake. Do be careful of being caught up in mob protests; they can go out of hand and end up as endless blame games. People can be flimsy – and the media most so. It would be difficult to tell when the tide has changed – even experienced sailors and politicians have failed on this score. The best answer, for the people and critics alike, is to deliver corruptionfree good governance. As for the future, Arvindbhai, it’s time to also go where no one has gone before – to Tamil Nadu and Kerala – as a third horse in a perpetual 2-way regional party race, and an aam aadmi to a communist stronghold. Preferably leave UP and Bihar strategically this time; they will take up disproportionate time and effort in selection and electioneering (and will be ‘down and dirty’). There will be time for a national play – well within 5 years – state-wise and nationally. May the Tilak shine on Swaraj.u


W ellness

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

anti-inflammatory power. In addition, Olive Oil plays a very important role in promoting the right mix of microflora in the gut – which helps prevent some downstream health issues; use of Olive Oil helps eliminate unwanted digestive bacteria (like Helicobacter pylori) and promote the more positive bacteria, in the digestive tract.

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

'Oil' go with Olive { Jaspal Bajwa }

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ats are an indispensable part of food. In most cuisines, fats and cooking oils play a key role in boosting taste and flavour, together with salt and spices. However, oils and fats are not only loaded with calories and saturated fats, but most oils are also prone to easy spoilage (rancidity) and loss of nutrition during storage and in cooking. In the longstanding debate on which is the best cooking oil, there is a legendary oil that stands out for its difficult-to-match health and taste benefits. Thanks to extensive research on its unique phytonutrient composition, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is believed to be instrumental in reducing inflammation and blood pressure - both of which are early markers of more serious and debilitating chronic diseases linked to the health of the heart, bones and other vital organs.

With each passing year, further evidence continues to stream in to confirm that the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as part of a well-calibrated diet, can reduce plasma triglycerides, LDL (‘bad` cholesterol) and platelet activation. In fact, it helps build up HDL (`good ‘cholesterol) levels and antioxidant immune support in the body. This has a multifold protective role in avoiding DNA damage, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis - and possibly halting the development of cancers of the breast, respiratory tract and upper digestive tract. There are several factors that contribute to the amazing list of health benefits from Olive Oil consumption. The key lies in the remarkable combination of fats, over nine varieties of potent polyphenols and over two dozen anti-inflammatory nutrients (including carotenoids and Vitamin E), which are present in Olive Oil in good measure. These are instrumental in providing an ‘antioxidant punch’ and

Tip of the Week

Olives are one of the oldest foods known to man. For 5,000 to 7,000 years the Olive tree has provided food, fuel, timber, skin oil massage and medicine. Not surprisingly then, in many civilizations it has been regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom. Most of the production of this ‘superfood’ continues to be in the Mediterranean area. Olive Oil forms a central plank of the wonderful ‘Mediterranean Diet’, which is strongly associated with good health and life expectancy.

Studies have shown that the essential nutrients in Extra Virgin Olive Oil can drop dramatically (by 30 to 100%) when stored for 12 months or more. As an example, after just two months’ exposure to light, the peroxide (free radical) levels can increase so much that the Oil can no longer be termed as ‘Extra Virgin’. Of course, it can still be sold as ‘Virgin’ or ‘Pure’, but it is no longer the same in terms of its nutrient density. Whereas Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best for Salads and other nil-heat recipes, for high-heat cooking it is better to use the Virgin/Pure version. To maintain the benefits of this wonder Oil, it is important to store it in dark tinted bottles, ceramic jars or metal containers - away from direct sunlight and in a cool dark area. Purchasing smaller quantities can ensure that it remains fresh and is

Party On My Mind! { Tripti Tandon }

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f course it’s time to Party, and that’s what is on my mind too. So let’s get on with it. As we head into the Party season, eating out, late nights, drinks, good food and get-togethers of family and friends is going to be the norm - and why not. It’s fun to indulge and what’s better than welcoming the New Year on a high - Cheers to that! Promise, I won’t get too deep into the ‘dos’ & ‘don’ts’ of a healthy lifestyle today (we have the entire year to talk about that). However, if you are hosting a Party soon, you could ‘secretly prepare a healthy meal’, without letting the fizz run off the jamboree.   Be the secret Santa - start with ‘lowfat’ appetizers/starters.  The starters should be full of ‘fibre’ and ‘healthy fats’, which will help in slowing down digestion and helping your guests feeling fuller longer (you will get blessings from the Party hoppers too). Fat helps sustain your fullness, thereby keeping your hunger at bay. Appetizers are meant to ‘hold you over’ until mealtime. It will be a good idea to have ‘protein’ as a part of the main dish – so go for beans, tofu, cottage cheese (paneer), soya, lentils, chicken breast, fish & eggs.

Some ideas for flavourful and

filling appetizers.

Low-fat mozzarella sticks - slice them into small pieces and roll to make small mozzarella balls Low-fat feta cheese - cubed is best for display Avocado – baked avocado fries or chips with low fat dip on the side Walnuts, almonds or cashews - graband-go snack Healthy Fruit and Vegetable salad - of cucumber, tomato, apples and lettuce, with low fat dressing Roasted mushrooms, capsicum, broccoli, tomatoes and potatoes Paneer tikka - dairy is a good source of protein and fat Non-vegetarian roasts - chicken tikka, fish tikka and mutton tikka

What about Alcohol?

When you drink alcohol, your metabolism slows down. The body immediately puts its fat burning on hold and starts to metabolise alcohol, to get

How to avoid ‘Party time’ weight gain

1) A day before, & after you indulge: Give your body & mind a break - too much partying can be exhausting. Do something quiet and peaceful try to sleep on time; this will definitely make you feel relaxed, happy & rejuvenated. 2) Weigh yourself today, and then just enjoy: Mark it in your diary & plan to shed the extra weight you gain over the next two weeks. If you promise yourself, you will do it! 3) Never Party hungry: If you go in famished, you're much more likely to pile up your plate. Instead of starving yourself all day in anticipation of the Party, eat normally, and you’ll maintain the willpower to stick to your plan. 4) Eat it if you crave it: The trick is to feed your craving & to not give in completely. Have little tiny bites of each sweet that you are craving for; just don’t go overboard. 5) Make water your best friend: This will ensure that you binge less. Water in your system will help you detoxify & cut all the salt & spice that you will be consuming in the days to come. 6) Follow the ‘one helping’ policy, & learn to say ‘no’: Eat everything that you like - after all, this is a time to treat yourself. Just remember that it’s your own self that you are feeding, not the appetite of your friends & relatives. Learn to say ‘no’ politely, if required.

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consumed within 2-3 months. Nature’s Wonder Food of the Week: Olive Oil or Olea europea The unusual fat content of Olive Oil merits a closer look. About 75% of its fat is in the form of Oleic Acid - a monounsaturated, Omega-9 fat. In contrast, the mono-unsaturated fat in other oils varies between 15 and 60%. Thanks to its high mono-unsaturated content, the use of Olive Oil as a cooking medium has been shown to significantly decrease total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and the LDL:HDL ratio. The best news is that as little a consumption as 1-2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day has been shown to be associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits. However, the quality of the Oil is key. For example, the ‘Cold-pressed’ variety implies minimal heating needed to extract the Oil; and when combined with the phytonutrient-rich first pressing of the Oil, it provides for the strongest possible nutrient composition. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical

rid of it from the body. Drinking alcohol stops fat metabolism in the liver, causing it to build up around the waistline. This ‘build up’ only happens in the presence of excess calories – so, take note & drink responsibly. In addition to staying under your calorie limit, rev up your metabolism by staying active and not skipping meals. Have alcohol straight with fresh fruit or mixed with club soda or stick to plain old wine or beer, to save on calories. To keep yourself from overindulging, eat a well-balanced meal of ‘fibre’, ‘healthy fats’ and protein before you start drinking. It will also help you steer clear of searching for a late-night meal. Remember, the key to eating right or in moderation is to focus on the quantities and the nature of food you are eating. So what are you waiting for? Let your hair down, grab your glass, pick up your quarter plate and Party! ps: Don’t worry about putting on a little weight while ushering in the New Year. We can always take care of that later. Enjoy it guilt free. Still worried? Refer to the Box - 6 Expert tips on how to avoid ‘Party time’ weight gain.u Founder & Chief Nutritionist - ‘Tripti’s Wellness 1’ & ‘I Eat Right’. Expert in the field of Clinical Nutrition, Naturopathy, Child Obesity, Weight Loss management for Men & Women, Karmic and Self Healing. DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon https://www.facebook.com/ieatright. triptitandon Follow on twitter @I_EatRight


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27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

What's in a Bread?

{ Alka Gurha }

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bestselling book, ‘Wheat Belly’, by Dr. William Davis, suggests that wheat can be a silent killer. Dr. Davis believes that genetically altered wheat is also a major cause of weight gain and diabetes in most Americans. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey and Miley Cyrus claim that they’ve lost weight by sticking to a ‘Gluten-free’ diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye; it is also found in many foods, medications and everyday items. Based on the testimonials, several other celebrities and ‘normal’ folk have adopted this Diet. If the claims are really true, what about the impact on us Indians, who live on chapatis, pooris, bread and naans? A Gluten-free Diet, by definition, excludes Gluten. Essentially, ‘Glutenfree’ is a way of saying no to all wheat-based products - including pasta, bread, pizza, biscuits and buns. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people suffering from Celiac, an autoimmune disease. Changing to a Gluten-free diet helps these people in controlling their symptoms and preventing further complications. More often than not, they may remain on a Glutenfree diet for the remainder of their lives. Some studies have shown that eating a Gluten-free diet can help in weight loss even for those not suffering from Celiac disease. According to Dr. Davis, eating

wheat stimulates our body to produce high levels of insulin - the hormone that moves sugar from our bloodstream. These high insulin levels result in the accumulation of fat around our abdomen. When excess insulin is circulating in our bodies, it results in a feeling similar to that of low blood sugar, and makes us hungry. As a result we grab a quick snack and the cycle starts all over again. Dr. Davis believes that removing wheat from the diet can relax this cycle of high insulin and low blood sugar. As a result there is lower calorie consumption, leading to weight loss. However, living on a Gluten-free diet has its challenges. People who follow this Diet may end up consuming low levels of several vitamins and nutrients. Avoiding grains can also result in the lack of fibre from traditional sources. If you need to go Gluten-free, consult your doctor or a nutritionist, to determine the best eating plan for your lifestyle. When trying to lose weight, the key is to make conscious choices about eating whole grains, fibrous foods and the right meat. A good option is to select more fruits, vegetables, lean meat…and more naturally Gluten-free grains, like brown rice. Dieticians are still debating whether a Gluten-free Diet can actually result in weight loss. So, unless you are diagnosed with Celiac disease or are allergic to Gluten, going Gluten-free may not give you any additional health benefits. u

W ellness

Put your Heart to it ‘Someone in the neighborhood died of a heart-stroke’ - we keep hearing such statements and end up forming a perception about the pandemic disease. It is crucial that we change our ‘ignorant’ attitude; we cannot continue to have beliefs that do not serve any good. According to the Global Burden of Diseases Study conducted by WHO, by 2020 India will have more than 4.77 million deaths a year due to Cardio-Vascular Diseases and 2.58 million deaths due to Coronary Heart Diseases - and will soon become the capital of heart diseases in the world.  A heart attack happens when our arteries get blocked and the heart is thus deprived of oxygen. Sometimes even a 30-40 percent blockage, due to plaque deposits, can make us prone to heart attacks. In these situations, the heart’s cells start to die. A chest pain that follows, which most people associate with a heart-attack, is the heart’s way of yelling for help. Apart from an acute pain in the chest, the warning signs of a heart-attack could be many - ranging from nausea to a racing heart. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense; but most of the times, before a heart attack, people witness mild pain or find it difficult to perform their day-to-day activities. People often do not take the symptoms seriously; they wait too long to get help. Most heart attacks involve a pain in the centre of the chest, which lasts up to a minute and keeps coming back at intervals. A feeling of fullness, an uncomfortable pressure, a squeezing, a shortness of breath or a light but constant pain around the chest area could be the symptoms of a heart stroke. These may be accompanied by perspiration, lightheadedness or nausea. Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, jaw or stomach can also be signs of a heart attack. Yes, there are many ‘valid’ symptoms, which can confuse us - but it is better to be safe than sorry. Today even youngsters witness heartattacks, with 40% of them already suffering from diabetes.  “It is important to recognize the symptoms, and act. We should follow a proactive approach, and no sign should go unnoticed. The ‘first hour’ is when most of the deaths occur; the person needs to see a doctor immediately”, says  Dr. Anil Bansal, Chief Cardiologist, Columbia Asia Hospital. “Feelings of constriction and discomfort, while jogging or running, are those small signs that you have to acknowledge and take action on. When you feel something that you’ve never felt before while being active, or if you have any problem (while being active) that is only relieved by rest, you need to see the doctor. Never mind if it is a ‘false alarm’”, adds Dr. Bansal. Quick attention and medical intervention is critical, because the intensity and aftermath of a heart attack could vary from one patient to another. We need to scrutinize our lifestyles. Sedentary jobs, unhealthy diets rich in fats, high stress levels and addiction to smoking and tobacco are areas that need a very close look. u

Get tired eyes looking Fresh again { Andrea Abrel/ Berlin/ DPA }

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here are several studies that show that women sleep differently to men. Women sleep on an average an hour longer, but it takes them longer to go to sleep - and they wake more often in the night. Women also tend to suffer from sleep deprivation more frequently. Add to that the occasional long night or two, extended conversations with a friend on the phone or overtime at work, and it’s no surprise that skin can look unhealthy and eyes tired from lack of sleep. It may be difficult to prevent the causes of lack of sleep, but you can do something about its visible effects. Make-up artist Michaela Ioannidou recommends using a day-cream containing hyaluronan or special creams made from herb extracts. They promote blood flow to the skin and give it a fresher look. Dermatologist Uta Schlossberger says a facial mask impregnated with high-concentrated nutrients can also rejuvenate skin in record time. Rings around eyes, and puffiness, are sure signs of sleep deprivation. The skin below the eyes is especially soft, and poor blood flow caused by short nights can make itself visible very quickly. A side effect of lack of sleep is that it takes

longer for lymph fluid to drain away. The combined result is swollen eyes. “Active ingredients that moisturize the skin are very popular at the moment,” says Elena Helfenbein from the German Cosmetics Distributors and Marketing Association. “Gel creams, or very fluid creams, are great at getting to work quickly on the skin. And if you apply them with a small roller, you get the benefit of a massage at the same time.” If you don’t have a facial roller at home, you can always fall back on a tried and tested home remedy. “Put two dessert

spoons for five minutes in the freezer compartment of your fridge and then press the back of the spoons to your closed eyes,” says Uta Schlossberger. “If it’s too cold remove the spoons straight away and wait until they’re not so cold.” Another old trick is to apply two used tea bags to the eyes. “The tannin in the tea causes blood vessels beneath the eyes to contract,” says the Dermatologist. Make-up artist Peter Arnheim recommends using a moisturizing cream after a night spent partying. “Caffeine or taurine are two ingredients that immediately add a bit of sparkle to skin.” A skin-peeler, using small rough particles, is another way to pep skin up. The particles remove dead skin cells and give it a fresh pink look. Arnheim also advises using a concealer, to get the desired look. Applying concealer below the eyes is a great way to make them look rested. “The concealer should be one or two shades lighter than the rest of the make-up you’re wearing,” he says. Make-up in apricot colours is also good for concealing a short night. “Those shades help the skin to look as if it is fresh,” says Ioannidou. u

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B on V ivant

27 Dec 2013 - 2 Jan 2014

Tapping Talent { Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

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s winter sets in, and as I venture to write, I am engulfed by some sweet memories. I see myself, a girl all of fourteen, tucked firmly under a hand-made quilt on a gloomy winter day, sipping mama’s divine tasting ginger tea in front of a Texla black and white TV and being ‘indoctrinated’ to the world of Tap Dance. It happened one December afternoon, when my brother rented a VHS (Video Home System) player and a few cassettes from the friendly neighbourhood ‘videowala’ (as was the norm in the 1980s) and announced unilaterally that only ‘old’ English movies would be played that day. I photographically remember the titles of the movies – ‘Born to Dance’ (1936), ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952) and ‘An American in Paris’ (1951). When the grainy, scratchy credits were being played, I came to know for the first time that Grace Kelly, Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire were the dancing stars of Broadway and Hollywood. Tap Dance has struck the musical chord of my existence. Even decades later, as a dancer, my talent seems dwarfed by the memorable stature and style of some of Hollywood’s Tap Dance legends. It is a unique uncompromising dance style, in which the performer taps his/her feet on the ground preferably a hard surface - bringing out audible sounds in perfect rhythm. The origin of Tap Dance is debatable, though as always the Americans would like to take the credit. The original dance form, and its evolution over eight decades, is an imported style. In the 1820s, migrants from Africa and Ireland landed in New York in search of work opportunities, and during the evening hours they started imitating each others’ dance styles. By 1860 a fusion of styles led to a clearer and more distinctive dance form,

which had traces of African tribal tones and the clog dancing from Ireland. Special soles were sewn to the shoes as Tap accessories and their pronounced sounds created a rhythmic hue, with the systematic and co-ordinated tapping of the feet. Tap Dancers also profoundly influenced American music, and a mesmerized audience flanked in droves to Broadway to witness the musicals - a majority of them later being remade as blockbuster Oscar-nominated films. So were born legendary stars like Jimmy Slyde, who mixed Tap Dance with Jazz and performed with debatably the greatest Jazz musician known, Duke Ellington. Fred Astaire, the Hollywood star, experimented with Ballroom dancing within Tap; and equally distinguishing was Gene Kelly, another Hollywood great, who used the Ballet within Tap. Thus was ushered in a neo-American Tap style. Shuffling, flapping and rolling were the techniques devised into Tap Dance. Tap Dancers of the present day synchronize their movements with the count of beats, and the sheer audacity with which they create their own music - with the lightning movement of their feet - makes this one of the few dance forms that has survived without the accompaniment of music. The distinctiveness of Tap Dancing is of the ‘tapping leg’ being closer to the floor, without any excessive movement of the upper body. It would not be a misnomer to state that though the themes and elements in present day Tap Dance are suited

to our times, the ‘classical’ aspect of the nineteenth century stills remains in letter and spirit. The footwear used by Tap Dancers has undergone major changes. The earliest wooden shoes used by Tappers were uncomfortable and painful, and often created feet blisters due to feet contouring and rhythmic pounding. When the shoes were made of leather, the Tap soles were customized. Present shoe companies have made distinct Tap shoes suited for each Tap style. Even the metal used to create a Tap sole is made of special alloys, so as to maintain the convex steps of the dancer. I wonder if Tap Dance can survive long, with more western dance forms and ‘innovative’ techniques ruling the roost. I researched a thirty-three year old New York Tap Dancer called Michelle Dorrance, who is regarded as a polished choreographer and who brings in elements of theatre and subtle humour in her performances. I also came across reviews about the International Tap Dance Championship, held in the city of Riesa in Germany, during the first week of December. Another remarkable and noticeable article in “The Columbus Dispatch” caught my eye; it spoke of the coming of age of a ten-year-old prodigy from Ohio, named Luke Spring. I further learnt that Tap Dance is popular even in countries like Croatia, and surprisingly is still ‘passed on’ down the generations - in the AngloIndian communities of Western India. I tend to be a little judgmental and biased towards the Astaires and Slades of yesteryears. The legends and greats do not get the credit due to them during their lifetimes. History is often kinder in hindsight. However, it is indisputable that Tap Dancers’ performances will forever be knocking on our hearts – and helping move our feet in tandem.u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer

Musing ‘the changing times’

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e live in an era beset with revolutions. The environment has been gradually eroded; what once was bountiful has been decimated by greed. The rules of life have gradually changed over the centuries. Industry finally came into the forefront with the Industrial Revolution in the late Nineteenth century. Trade and Commerce became the new buzzwords. The British Empire increased its trade fourfold and Britain became a major manufacturing base - with raw materials coming from the far-flung areas of the Empire. The gold rush in California led the way for the unification of USA, and the onset of the railroads. Germany developed its nascent armaments industry into a formidable war machine. America then developed the assembly line, starting with automobiles. While the world was ‘developing’, the environment was being grossly polluted and destroyed. Chemical effluents were being discharged into sea-bodies, without adequate treatment. Then there was a new revolution, in Communications – via satellites and the Internet. The rise of Google has been phenomenal. Harvard and Cornell developed the Case Study method. India has gone through vast changes - from the ancient and medieval times. Globalization has made us an economic power. Reliance has built the largest integrated refinery in the world. And now there has been a political revolution with the Aam Aadmi Party coming into prominence. Soon we will be on Mars, with a galaxy as an Empire. u Prof Pratap Lahiri - ICI India, ICFAI

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The Majlis

{ Krishan Kalra}

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n India, Majlis may not be a good word these days. What with multiple groups conspiring to engage in anti–national activities and many of them being known as Majlis-something or the other, one would rather not use the word. However, the Majlis I recently attended, during a trip to the Middle East, was a totally different experience. I was in Abu Dhabi as part of the Indian business delegation, when the Ambassador suggested that our leader & I join him at the Majlis being hosted by one of the local Ministers. “This is a great honour,” we were told, and also that our leader would be the Chief Guest at the ceremony. As we drove into the Minister’s palace, we were guided towards a separate circular two-storied building. We walked up to the first floor & entered this huge carpeted room with glass windows & sofas all along the circumference. Right in front sat the host. Everyone stood up and we headed straight for the Minister. We shook hands, the Ambassador hugged him & then we started moving around the periphery, introducing ourselves & shaking hands with each person. At the end our leader was made to sit besides the Minister & we found seats on an adjoining sofa. Soon two servants entered, with silver carafes of sweet black tea in one hand & a few china cups in the other. One sip of tea was offered to everyone & the little cups were re-circulated - without a thought to personal hygiene. This process was repeated every few minutes & each guest was offered tea repeatedly. The second time when the guy came around I shook my head (saying no), but detected from the server’s face that this would not be polite. I was soon to learn the proper gesture for declining tea. You put your right palm on the chest, just below your left shoulder, indicating satiation & gratefulness. People kept coming in and leaving - the room was almost full all the time. Every time someone entered, everyone would stand up, and not sit down till the entrant had been greeted personally. The new arrival would first meet & greet the host & then move around the periphery of the room, saying ‘Salaam alaikum’. There was much of shaking hands, hugging, pressing cheeks and kissing noses. Again, whenever some one left, we would all stand up till the departing guy had said his goodbyes to the host. We must have done several dozen sit-ups and downs that evening. While there were some foreigners in the congregation, mostly there were locals in standard white flowing robes & white headdresses (having two rounds of black rope). We couldn’t make out what they were talking but there was much animated discussion, apart from the exchange of pleasantries. We were told this was a daily routine for the honorable Minister. Any one – irrespective of his stature in life – was welcome to come & state his grievance. There would be an instant solution, though open for debate by others present. In most cases the aggrieved party would go back satisfied – firstly, because he had at least had the opportunity to publicly state his complaint, & secondly because some sort of solution had been found. What a sound concept – the poorest of the poor being permitted to air their views in front of the high & mighty. Perhaps this practice - the Majlis - goes back centuries, when they sat under a tree & the local chieftain dispensed justice to his subjects.u


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Crime-scene Cleaners see Life & Death { Sid Astbury/Sydney/ DPA }

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Leah McGlashan (left), Lee Iordanidis (centre) and Daniel Roberts (right). Lordanidis, the owner of All Gone Extreme Clean, says: “They’re never gentle and sit in the bath and slash their wrists. They’re never that kind to us. They tend to sit on the bed.” Handout

he antidote to a day-job dealing with death can sometimes be giving life a helping hand. That is what happened with Lee Iordanidis, owner of a Sydney crime-scene cleaning company. She was called in after a woman gave birth in a car while on the way to hospital. “The baby was popping out so there was blood everywhere,” she said. “I enjoyed it. I couldn’t charge them for it. I got to bring something to life.” It was a change from clearing away the detritus from often violent deaths, which is the stock-in-trade of her company, All Gone Extreme Clean. Forensic cleaners go in after the police have finished their work, sometimes contracted by property owners or public authorities and sometimes by the families of victims or perpetrators. Gabrielle Simpson, whose Clean Queens company has been in the business since 2001, said a lot of the work came from what police call ‘unattended death’. “Sometimes when there are incidents in public places - accidents or suicides or when people jump - we get there so quick that we’re almost ready when they’re moving the body out,” she said. “You do what’s necessary; you don’t have an emotional attachment; these aren’t people that you know.” However, on some jobs it is hard to be detached. Simpson cleared out a luxury harbourside flat after an elderly woman died alone; she felt she came as close to her as any member of her family. “She played golf; she’d go on cruises; she wrote endless letters of complaint,” Simpson said.

Gabrielle Simpson (left) and sister Sheridan Simpson (right). Gabrielle, whose Clean Queens company has been in the crimescene business since 2001, says, “We see what people have done in their lives, or what they did just before they died. You would be surprised at how many manage to get a last Magnum ice cream in.”

“She had her 21st birthday presents in a suitcase on the bed – never opened. We found a stack of unopened Christmas cards. It’s very invasive, what we do and what we see.” Before the commercial operators were in business, families had to clean up themselves. Noel McNamara, who with wife Bev runs the Crime Victims Support Association, welcomes the advent of professionals. “People who lose a loved one are in shock,” he said.

“You’re there but you’re not really there. So it’s good that someone comes around. Theres’s always tell-tale signs on walls and things, of what’s gone on.” Leah McGlashan, who works for All Gone, said that saving families from doing the job themselves was what helped carry her through. “Yes, it’s gross; yes, it’s gruesome; yes, it smells. But someone has to do it. You tell yourself: that’s why I’m here.” Daniel Roberts, a fellow employee, said that being compassionate was as important as not being squeamish. “You ask yourself what you would want as a family,” he said. “Bits and pieces that have sentimental value are important. If it’s a photograph, you put it on one side and decontaminate it afterwards, so it can go back to the family. You don’t want to miss anything for them.” Roberts echoed Simpson’s words about learning so much about a life in its often gory aftermath. “By the end

A new breed of Journeyman { Niels C Sorrells/ Berlin/ DPA }

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here’s a building in Bangalore, India, improvised out of scrap wood and decked out with wi-fi and electrical lighting, to create a studio space for creative professionals in the area. Decorating the exterior of the 8-metre-tall building is a vertical garden made out of panels that swivel 180 degrees to reveal a colourful mural, which - seen from a distance - depicts the face of pop singer Freddie Mercury. The man who oversaw the installation flew to Bangalore for the job. But he wasn’t a paid contractor. He was a German journeyman - interior architect and graphic designer Fabius Sixtus Koerner. “I stumbled upon the tradition by coincidence,” says Koerner, now promoting a book in Germany about his two years traveling the world, trading his skills for work reviews and expenses. “The main idea was to go off and learn something.” Koerner might be the face of a new breed of journeyman, if a group of academics and designers in the eastern German city of Leipzig has its way. Koerner’s trip is serving as a model for

Bernd Schroeder, of the Association of German Industrial Designers (VDID), who is working on guidelines for a new tradition of designers as journeymen - loosely based on the old tradition practiced for centuries by carpenters, smiths and stonemasons, among others. “The experience is very, very important. It’s not just an internship,” says Schroeder during a phone interview, after attending a Leipzig-based gathering of designers that intended to lay down the rules for the new programme. “It’s a lot about character building and strengthening one’s personality,” he says of the programme, which is likely to be called Wanderwege (Journeying paths). “It’s also about building up a network of colleagues that can help you, so you’re not so isolated.” There are a lot of hurdles to overcome. Young people who have taken years to study graphic or interior design will have to be convinced of the benefits of spending a year exchanging services for sustenance pay and experience. It also remains to be seen how traditional journeymen -

of whom there are still several hundred travelling the world at any given time, distinctive by their traditional garb - will take to the newcomers. Being a journeyman has a long tradition in Germanic culture. In the Middle Ages, those who had successfully completed an apprenticeship were sent out as journeymen, to find other masters from whom to gain experience. Much of the knowledge they exchanged helped to fuel the spread of skills and styles during the Gothic and Romanesque eras. The intention was twofold: to learn more about the trade and to circulate to other regions. Often a master wanted to encourage his apprentices to leave town, as there was not enough work to go around. The tradition continues to this day, kept alive by seven guilds and one society. Young people who have finished an apprenticeship head out for about three years, travelling wherever they please, taking jobs in exchange for food and travel costs. There are strict rules in place, determining what they can and cannot wear and how they make a living.

of the day you know a lot about them. They become real persons,” he said. It is that part of the job that makes up for the fastidious, perhaps even compulsive, personal hygiene at the end of a day’s work. Roberts can recall having five consecutive showers! Iordanidis insisted that she was in a people business rather than a cleaning business. “We have to be emotionally attached to these people. You can’t be coldblooded,” she said. “I always walk them back through the house when we’ve finished. You have someone crying, and if you’re not emotionally involved with that person, you can’t hug them and let them know it’s fine.” Simpson, who said there was a fine balance between compassion and detachment, recounted cleaning up a crime scene where a successful young woman and her new and drug-addled partner had died of an overdose. The flat was neat and tidy. The shoes in the cupboards were lined up. Everything was as it should be except for where a young couple had been found dead on the bed. “It was horrible. It was really horrible,” Simpson said. “There were four of us doing it and we were just gob-smacked.” What repels some, keeps others engaged in the business. As well as the uplift of helping others in the worst of circumstances, there is the privileged glimpse into a stranger’s life. “We’re touching everything that dead person has owned,” Iordanidis said. “We’re seeing the last minutes of their life. It’s sometimes a bit hard. When the skip goes away with the couch in it, you think ‘I’ve just thrown this person’s life into the rubbish. It’s like they don’t exist now.’”u Many are recognizable by their clothing, often consisting of a wide hat and an old-fashioned labourer’s outfit – full of symbols and pockets. “A lot of people can’t understand it,” says Krush Varrok, a stonemason from the eastern German city of Chemnitz. “For them it’s a return to the old times ...”. Schroeder says the young designers considering the Wanderwege programme are thinking about it as an experiencebuilder, between their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. About 20 people have already expressed an interest in the programme, which could launch as early as 2014. “It’s all ready to go,” he says, though details about applications and mentorships are still being fleshed out. Koerner says the real challenge is not only about perfecting your craft, but also about learning to keep your wits about you while on the road. “I’ve learned that I can get along without much money,” he says. The newcomers might also need to win the trust of traditional journeymen. Initially recoiling at the idea of breaking with tradition, Finn - a 25-year-old carpenter from Hamburg - notes that he himself experienced resistance the old guard of journeymen when he started traveling. “If the (newcomers) try to copy our outfits, I’ll get annoyed,” he concludes. “But mostly I’m okay with it.”u


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{ Christian Schultz/ Huemmerich, Germany/ DPA }

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olden retriever Keck responds immediately to Christian’s short command. The dog approaches the 14-year-old’s wheelchair and carefully pulls off the teenager’s gloves with its teeth. “Thank you,” says Christian, who suffers from ataxia – which means the Stuttgart teenager suffers from difficulties with balance and lacks co-ordination. Keck, who has been by Christian’s side since 2010, was trained by the German organization Vita, which is certified with Assistance Dogs International (ADI), a coalition of not-for-profit assistance-dog organizations. Unlike trained guide dogs for the blind, which have been an institution for more than 70 years, offering ‘assistance dogs’ to people with physical and mental health disabilities is a much more recent concept. As in Christian’s case with Keck, the dogs can be trained to work with people who use wheelchairs or have balance issues. They can also be trained to retrieve objects, open and close doors, turn light switches off and on, and even empty washing machines. “They are a person’s extended arm,” explains Vita spokeswoman Laura Anthes. The Organization only works with golden retrievers and labradors, because those

{ Caroline Bock/ Berlin/ DPA }

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ven in the romantic West, chance encounters don’t always suffice to create couples. Old-fashioned matchmaking can still work. With that in mind, girlfriends Anni and Jule, ruminating in a Berlin bar one day about the dreary lives of so many singles, decided to start a magazine aimed at matching up all the lonely hearts – online and offbeat. Called Im Gegenteil (“On the Contrary”), it aspires to be the opposite to a conventional dating website, by showing the partner seekers “an honest way” in their home surroundings. To do this, Anni Kralisch-Pehlke, who is 30 and married, and Jule Mueller, 31 and single, visit the young men and women in their flats, stroll with them through their neighbourhoods, take photographs and write short profiles. For good measure, they throw in a picture of the candidate as a child. The tone of the profiles is candid and playful. And the look of the website is a

breeds’ calm temperament makes them best suited for the job of ‘assistance dog’. In 2007, Vita became the first organization in Germany to receive certification from Assistance Dogs Europe, the continental chapter of ADI. However, six years on, there are still very few such groups operating in Germany, in comparison to Britain or the United States, where the idea of self-help for people with disabilities is now established. “The Anglo-Saxon countries are still way ahead of us in this regard,” admits Vita founder and sociologist Tatjana Kreidler. Since coming into existence in 2000, Vita has trained and teamed up 38 owners and dogs, including 19 child teams. It takes a long time before a dog works in perfect harmony with its human partner. The dogs are selected as puppies and spend one year with a foster family, followed by another year of training with Vita. It is only at this point that the ‘assistance dog’ and potential team partner meet. There’s always a large number of applicants looking for an ‘assistance dog’, and the person most suited to the animal is selected. Several weeks of intense individual training follow, where the dog is trained to deal with its human partner’s specific needs. “This period is very exciting and emotional for everyone,” says Ariane Volpert, a veterinarian who helps Kreidler train dogs for Vita. “Sometimes it is love

Thomas Frey

‘Assistance Dogs’ for the Disabled

Christian Laage, 14, walks his ‘assistance dog’, Keck, a white golden retriever, on a country lane in autumn near Huemmerich, Germany as helpers look on. Christian suffers from ataxia, which means the Stuttgart teenager has difficulties with balance and lacks co-ordination.

An ‘assistance dog’ pulls wet laundry out of a washing machine to assist a disabled owner. Robin Lange, 16, plays a training game with his ‘assistance dog’ Vitus, in autumn near Huemmerich, Germany

at second sight.” It costs around 25,000 euros to train an ‘assistance dog’, while the necessary follow-up support provided during the dog’s life brings the total cost towards 75,000 euros (100,000 dollars). Not surprisingly, many people

look for financial support from sponsors. Christian’s mother, Beate Laage, remembers clearly when she first heard about Vita’s work, while attending a rehab products exhibition several years ago. “I found it fascinating, but was also extremely hesitant,” she explains. After all, caring for a dog is another responsibility. But Beate and her husband eventu-

Offbeat Dating Website cross between a fashion and a home-furnishings blog. Luisa’s profile, for instance, is titled, “I Simply Can’t Sit Like a Lady.” The 27-year-old, we learn, is officially living with another woman in a registered lesbian relationship. Unofficially, she likes guys. She is now completing her second course of university studies (“something to do with mass media”) and would probably study sociology, should it come to a third. If you make it into her flat, you can help yourself to the “top three basic foodstuffs” in the refrigerator: vodka, olives and curd cheese. “Definitely a prospect, this woman,” her profile concludes. Max, 28, has long, dark blond hair, a full beard and a “really thick” scar on his hand from a skateboarding crack-up. “Open fracture with bone splinters. Sexier than any tattoo,” his profile says. A photograph of his kitchen table reveals a box of whole-grain wafers, a jar of Ovo-Maltine and sundry bottles dominated by

Anni Kralisch-Pehlke (left) and Jule Mueller (right), the Berlin matchmakers who created a website, Im Gegenteil, for lonely singles who are not good at promoting themselves.

one with a Ballantine’s Scotch whisky label. Other photographs show two English-language books on a filing cabinet - “The Monocle Guide to Better Living” and Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” ; and seven pairs of shoes - mostly trainers - lined up neatly beside a bookcase. Jan, 32, fancies men. His shoes - considerably more than seven pairs - are piled in a heap. He is

said to read a lot, watch popular American television series, is an excellent cook, loves photography and plans to have children. “A man with many facets,” sums up his profile. “Terrific!” The home visits last about two hours and are “guaranteed to proceed painlessly and without embarrassment,” according to Im Gegenteil. Anni conducts the interviews while Jule unobtrusively takes photographs. “We’ve always enjoyed pairing people,” Anni said. “A lot of them have already made dates,” Jule added. Neither knows, however, if any of the pairings has really clicked. The first singles in their gallery came from their circle of acquaintances. After a few days online, they received about 100 enquiries from people wanting to take part. In the 25-35 age bracket, 2.7 million people in Germany (population: 80.5 million) live alone. Germans’ fear of saying, “I like you,” (let alone “I love you”), and the country’s achievementoriented society, make looking for a partner difficult, Anni

ally decided to apply for an ‘assistance dog’, although it took two years before they were eventually successful in their efforts. “I never thought that this would change my son so much,” she says. Christian has become more self-confident in Keck’s company and has a more positive demeanour. “Keck is his friend and partner. The two cuddle up to each other,” she explains. The dog has helped Christian achieve a greater degree of independence; and when the teenager is out and about with his ‘assistance dog’, he is treated differently by other people,” says Beate. People are more eager to speak with him now, because he is a dog owner. “The dog opens doors for him - in every sense of the term.”u pointed out. “When you work 10 hours a day, how much time have you got left?” she said. While there is a large selection of online dating sites - many of which are fee-based - evaluations in 2011 by the German consumer protection group Stiftung Warentest rated only one of them as “good.” Jule said she had checked out dating sites on the Internet but quickly gave up, finding them unpleasant and stressful. One guy wanted to know whether she was “into feet,” she complained. Im Gegenteil strives to be different, less anonymous and not a “mass-produced commodity.” Candidates don’t give their height or weight and contacting one another is free – and will remain so. Still, the Website’s founders want to make money and are considering appropriate strategies. “We’d like to do it full-time,” remarked Anni, who said she and Jule planned to profile singles in the near future in a second German city, Hamburg. “There seems to be a huge demand.” Jule is not yet part of the gallery of candidates, but she said, “It’s in the works.” u


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Fighting Fungi with Light { Felix Mescoli/ Karlsruhe, Germany DPA }

down only at temperatures around 300 degrees Celsius.” To test the effects of light on Fungi, Schmidt-Heydt and his colleagues at the Karlsruhe institute’s department of fruit and vegetable quality, have devised a light box in whose chambers they can subject Fungi samples to varying light wavelengths and frequencies. “With weak blue light you can inhibit Fungi’s toxin formation; with strong blue light you can inhibit their growth; and with very strong blue light you can kill them,” he said. “Lightinduced prevention of toxin formation is a promising strategy,” said Ebrahim Razzazi-Fazeli, a Professor of Bioanalysis at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. He warned, however, that practical implementation of the method was still a a long way off. Meanwhile, Schmidt-Heydt is already considering simple mechanical solutions. “It would be possible to make warehouses in the Third World mould-proof with special, coloured glass panes that provide the right light,” he suggested.u

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he gigantic antediluvian river is gurgling and surging forward. As far as the eye can see, its delta is stretching outward into the Gulf of Mexico. On the delta’s sand bars, hadrosaurids, the “cows of the Cretaceous period,” are cavorting about. Suddenly a pack of predatory dinosaurs comes rushing out of some nearby woods. The plant-eating hadrosaurids, nearly 12 metres long, try to escape - but too late. This is how it might have been, back in dinosaur times. German dinosaur researcher Eberhard Frey is a man studying the traces of the massacre that possibly took place during the later Cretaceous period, between 66 and 100 million years ago. During an expedition in October, he counted 45 dinosaur skeletons in the Sonoran desert, close to Saltillo, capital of the north-eastern Mexican state of Coahuila. A local resident had found the bones jutting out of some porous rocks spread out over an area roughly the size of one and a half football fields. “On the other side of the dry valley we then discovered 30 skeletons,” Frey reports. For dinosaur researchers, the site is a genuine “dinorado.” North-eastern Mexico has

Markus Schmidt-Heydt of the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) places dishes of toxic moulds in a light box at his laboratory in Karlsruhe, Germany.

attaching filters of various colours - similar to those used for stage lighting - under the laboratory lamps. Fusaria, for example, a type of filamentous Fungi widely distributed in soil, and which can destroy entire crops of grain such as maize in the field, has an aversion to red light. Penicillium Fungi, used in the production of Camembert cheese and antibiotics, but capable - as grey mould - of spoiling stored foodstuffs, cannot

tolerate blue light. Mycotoxins the toxins produced by Fungi - are among the most toxic of all natural substances, and fungal infestation is one of agriculture’s biggest unsolved problems, SchmidtHeydt noted. Besides huge crop losses, an inestimable amount of food is spoiled in households by mould. Using light to keep harmful Fungi in check is no simple matter, though. Green fuzzes on

old bread and mushrooms in a forest are merely the fruiting bodies of an underlying Fungus that can grow to be humongous. In a forest, the network of fine filaments - called hyphae below the surface sometimes covers an area of more than a square kilometre and lives to an extremely old age. Since the actual extent of mould is invisible to the naked eye, Schmidt-Heydt advises that mouldy food always be thrown away in its entirety. Heating it by toasting or boiling is pointless, he said: “The Fungus will die, but some of the toxin breaks

North-eastern Mexico is a “Dinorado” developed a reputation as one of the planet’s most important dinosaur zones. Many other pre-historic fossils have been discovered there as well, but the Saltillo site is, for experts such as Christian Meyer, Director of the Natural History Museum of Basle, Switzerland, really special. For decades now he has been digging up fossils around the globe. “In my entire career I have never seen a ‘find site’ with such potential (as Saltillo),” he says. “Every 10 metres, there’s another skeleton. Your jaw just drops.” So far, the team of Frey, who heads the Karlsruhe Natural History Museum’s Geoscience department, has not been able to examine the bones more closely. The site contains the remains of the lambeosaurus, a genus within the plant-eating hadrosaurid family. The animals, which weighed up to four tons, are believed to have made trumpet-like sounds with their characteristic hollow cranial crests, which jutted

Uli Deck

{ Felix Mescoli/Karlsruhe/ DPA }

Markus Schmidt-Heydt of the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) holds petri dishes of toxic mould at his laboratory in Karlsruhe, Germany. Uli Deck

iologist Markus SchmidtHeydt made a major scientific discovery in a a “light-bulb” moment literally. A Fungi specialist at Germany’s Max Rubner Institute (MRI), SchmidtHeydt had to move his numerous petri dishes, containing mould cultures, to another laboratory one day, due to construction work. His previous workplace had been fairly dimly lit, but the new one was brightly illuminated. Surprisingly, some of the fungal filaments in the dishes stopped growing. Aha! Up to then, scientists had tried to combat the parasitic organisms, which each year destroy a quarter of the world’s food crops even before they reach the consumer, with heat. Schmidt-Heydt, 39, whose employer is one of Germany’s main research laboratories on food and nutrition, realized that the problem needed to be put in the proper light. “Every Fungus is inhibited by a certain kind of light,” he said, a discovery he made by

Eberhard Frey, who heads the Karlsruhe Natural History Museum’s Geoscience department in Germany, leans on a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Frey is to begin a major dig of hadrosaurid bones in 2014, in Coahuila state in northeastern Mexico.

from their foreheads. “We need a skull in order to finally identify the fossil bones,” Frey says. The 60-yearold paleontologist hopes to find one during a future dig. Researchers spent this year measuring and charting the site. Like detectives, they found bite marks on the legs of the hadrosaurs. “This means that the animals were either bitten to death, or they were gnawed

on by predatory dinosaurs when they were already dead,” Frey said. Footprints of sickle-clawed dinosaurs prove that prehistoric predators prowled the area. These carnivores, which were the size of a German shepherd dog, shared the turf with the large tyranosaurs and other bird-like predators. “They looked like an ostrich with arms and a tail,” Frey said.

Rather than being victims of a massacre, the hadrosaurids might also have been killed by floods or died while searching for new grazing areas. “To imagine it, think of the gnu migrations in the Serengeti,” he said, referring to the millions of antelope which each year cross the Grumeti River. Many don’t survive the passage, falling victim to crocodiles, being trampled to death or drowning in the slimy waters. “The hadrosaurid cadavers were carried away by the currents and then jammed up together at bends in the river. If they were covered by sediments then there was a chance that they would become fossilized,” Frey said. “This most likely is what happened here.” The fact that the bones were covered in mussel shells shows that they lay in water. Due to the geological characteristics of the region, the dinosaur-hunter expects there will be many further finds. The delta was a pulsating centre of activity for many treks on land, in the water and in the skies. “Perhaps one day there will be a Mexican version of Dinosaur National Monument, like in the Rocky Mountains,” he said. The expert they have nicknamed “Dino Frey”, hopes to find what he’s looking for next year in Mexico. u


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Friday gurgaon 27 dec, 2013 02 jan, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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